However, in spite of having aired an image of Muhammad in an earlier episode (“Super Best Friends,” July 2001), and in spite of the fact that the uncensored clip can easily be found on the internet, Comedy Central is refusing to show the image of Muhammad in reruns of the two-part “Cartoon Wars” episode shown in April, cowed by the violence and threats that followed the original Danish cartoons.
From NineMSN (thanks to J): “South Park takes on Cruise, Scientology”
The Comedy Central network has decided that Scientology and movie star Tom Cruise are once again fair game for the cartoon satire of “South Park,” but the Prophet Mohammad remains off-limits – sometimes.
The Viacom Inc.-owned cable channel plans to air a repeat of a “South Park” episode from last autumn lampooning the Church of Scientology and its movie star adherent on July 19, four months after cancelling a rerun of the show.
At the same time, an animated image of Mohammad created for a more recent two-part episode entitled “Cartoon Wars” will remain blacked out – as it was for its original telecast – in future airings and DVD releases, the network said this week.
Series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have criticised Comedy Central as “cowardly” for censoring that episode, which they intended as a commentary on the bloodshed sparked earlier this year by editorial cartoons in a Danish newspaper.
Parker and Stone said they were deeply disappointed Comedy Central, like many media outlets in America, had succumbed to a perceived threat of violence in censoring an image Islam regards as blasphemous.
They noted that outlandish religious satire has been a recurring theme of the show since its debut in 1997, poking fun at Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Buddhists and Muslims.
Clearly, South Park‘s brand of humor is not everyone’s cup of tea, but as Parker notes below, Comedy Central’s actions have set an alarming precedent by making one group more immune to satire than the rest, encouraging future threats of violence to chip away at freedom of speech.
“If you’re saying that this is the one thing we can’t do, besides Tom Cruise, because they’re threatening violence, well then, I guess that’s what everyone should do,” Parker told a gathering of critics on Thursday.