'South Park' censors mentions of Prophet Muhammed

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'South Park' censors mentions of Prophet Muhammed

Thu Apr 22, 2010 @ 10:42AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

S-MOHAMMAD-SOUTH-PARK-large Comedy Central has reacted with extreme caution to an implicit death threat against "South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

After the 200th episode of the show aired, showing the prophet Muhammed in a bear suit, a New York-based Muslim group, RevolutionMuslim, called the episode "insulting," and warned Stone and Parker "they will probably end up like Theo Van Gogh," referring to the Dutch filmmaker who was murdered in 2004 by an extremist.

As a result, the 201st episode of the show, which aired last night and was supposed to continue the storyline in the previous episode, took extra care, replacing Muhammed with a picture of Santa Clause in a bear suit and the word "CENSORED" on top. Mentions of Muhammed were bleeped out. Some of the changes came at the behest of Stone and Parker. Others were decisions coming from Comedy Central's standards department.

Comedy Central then went even further by blocking an Internet stream of the episode. Here is the message that was left on SouthParkStudios.com:

Picture 11

The show wasn't the only thing censored.

RevolutionMuslim's threat lead to a counterinsurgency by anti-fatwa monitors such as the Jawa Report, which encouraged readers to contact the website's ISP, Wordpress, to point out RevolutionMuslim was violating terms of service. Either Wordpress listened, or the group decided it would be in its best interest to stay low, but RevolutionMuslim's website is now down (although a cache remains).

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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