South Park is known for pushing the envelope. But for those of you who watched last night’s episode “201” (a continuation of last week’s “200,” a celebration of the 200th episode), you may have been a bit confused by the bleeps and image blocks surrounding the animated version of the Prophet Muhammad (and in a bear costume, no less). Those censors were the result of threats made last week by the New York-based Islamist group Revolution Muslim. On their website, author Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee wrote that South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker would “probably end up like Theo Van Gogh,” the director who was murdered in 2004 by an extremist over his film Submission. It focused on the treatment of Islamic women.
Muslims consider any physical representation of their prophet to be sacrilegious, and Al-Amrikee told The Associated Press that his posting was made to raise awareness and prevent this from happening again. He also said that Stone and Parker “should feel threatened by what they did.” (Note that Revolution Muslim’s server is currently down.) This is certainly not the first South Park-related drama to make headlines: the use of the Virgin Mary, Steve Irwin. and the Queen of England have all gotten a rise out of certain viewers, and in 2006, Comedy Central banned Stone and Parker from featuring Muhammad in an episode.
On their official website, SouthParkStudios, which normally streams full episodes, the following advisory note can be found:
But certainly not everyone views Stone and Parker as the heroic creative types who strive for free thinking. Former Comedy Central employee Lindsay Robertson describes the creators as “gigantic assholes.” On her Tumblr, she explains:
They owe an apology to every Comedy Central employee they’ve put in danger in pursuit of their own glory and publicity. Hopefully, and probably, nothing will happen except a few hundred people having anxiety for a few weeks, but if god forbid something does, it is on Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s shoulders.
No word as to when the updated “201” will be live, but we’re curious to see the unedited version in the midst of all this ruckus. If you’re not sick of all this yet, check out Boing Boing’s interview with Parker and Stone on their 200th episode, and decide for yourself whether they’re assholes or not.