Friday, April 23, 2010
Commedy Central Caves, Censors Cartoon
Comedy Central Bows to Intimidation and pussies out of airing an episode of South Park as it was intended to be shown.
After an ominous threat from some dickhead at a radical Muslim website, the US network that airs the program removed a key speech from the second of two episodes set to show the Prophet Muhammad in in a bear costume.
The incident provides the latest example of how media conglomerates are still struggling to balance free speech with safety concerns and religious sensitivities.
I have a great idea on how to achieve balance. Grow a set and tell these extremists to fuck off! We have the 1st Amendment. Don't be afraid to use it! (while we still can).
Comedy Central declined to comment on the latest incident, but the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, clearly disagreed with the channel's handling of the situation.
"We’d be so hypocritical against our own thoughts if we
said ‘OK, well let’s not make fun of them because they might hurt us…" -Trey Parker
They had applied a modicum of satirical self-censorship to the second episode, bleeping out mention of the prophet's name and covering his figure in a box marked ''censored''. But a statement posted on their website said that executives ''made a determination to alter the episode'' without their approval and that the usual wrap-up speech from one character did not mention Muhammad ''but it got bleeped too''.
The mainstream media has been largely silent on this issue of "Religious sensitivity at the point of a gun". It seems to me that when, say, Christian groups have merely organized protests or advertiser boycotts against media content they find offensive they've widely denounced as "chilling" free speech.
Parker and Stone’s upcoming Broadway musical The Book of Mormon hasn’t provoked any death threats, only an angry letter or two.
Here's an old clip in which Jackie and Dunlap discuss continued protests over a Danish newspaper's Mohammed cartoons, differences between Christianity and Islam.