A brief summary of the latest South Park controversy: After airing their momentous 200th episode which featured a self-consciously irreverent depiction of the prophet Muhammad (and other religious deities), South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone received threatening “warnings” from an Islamic extremist group called Revolution Muslim. “200” ended in a cliffhanger, and this Wednesday, episode “201” aired the conclusion of its drama in highly-edited form, including a long bleep throughout Kyle’s entire “I learned something today…” concluding speech, after many previous bleeps to mask the name “Muhammad.”
In response to their viewers’ curiosity over whether any of these bleeps were a “satiric nod to the whole idea of censorship” that the episode addressed, Parker and Stone released a statement on their website, South Park Studios, explaining the editing process that occurred between their creation of the episode and its airing on Comedy Central:
The statement from Matt and Trey, posted on SouthParkStudios.com:
In the 14 years we’ve been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it.
Neither Comedy Central’s highly-edited version nor Parker and Stone’s original version of “201” is yet available for streaming on the site.
Newsweek reports that security at Comedy Central has stepped up in response to the apparent threats by Revolution Muslim. The group’s website has since been taken down.