Five South Park episodes have been subject to censorship or banning (Picture: Comedy Central)
The cartoon’s 299th episode, named Band in China, featured storylines so critical of China that the country’s government even reportedly deleted virtually all content relating to the show from local internet servers.
But has the long-running show, which also has a freakish knack for predicting events in the future, envisaging everything from Donald Trump’s tweets to Brokeback Mountain, gone too far elsewhere?
The answer is….yes, with the UK and US among countries that have either censored or pulled various South Park episodes.
Let’s take a look at the five banned South Park episodes and why they were controversial.
Super Best Friends
The episode featured religious figures as a superhero squad (Picture: Fox)
Season 3 episode 5 follows Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as they enlist the Super Best Friends, a parody of 70s cartoon Super Friends, to defeat, er, David Blaine’s cult.
However, the Super Best Friends comprised several religious figures, among them Jesus, Buddha and Moses, but it was the inclusion of Mohammed that sparked controversy.
Due to a later death threat, outlined below, the episode was pulled from the South Park website some years later.
Cartoon Wars made light of the earlier Muhammed controversy (Picture: Fox)
When South Park moved homes to HBO Max and Paramount Plus in 2020, both streamers opted against making Cartoon Wars Part 1 and Part 2 available.
Referring to the earlier controversy surrounding Super Best Friends, Part 1 sees the whole of the United States fearing for their lives after it is announced that Family Guy will air an episode with Muhammad as a character.
Part 2, meanwhile, continues the story arc and follows Cartman, who believes that the episode is offensive to Muslims, travelling to Hollywood to try to get the episode pulled.
The episodes were inspired by the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, which began in response to a Danish newspaper’s printing of cartoons depicting Muhammed in September 2005, leading to worldwide protests and occasionally violent demonstrations and riots in early 2006.
200 and 201
The two episodes followed the efforts of Tom Cruise attempting to sue South Park (Picture: Fox)
200 and 201 also stirred up controversy for the depiction of Mohammed, leading Comedy Central to censor his image when the episodes aired on linear TV in 2010.
In 200, Tom Cruise and other celebrities mocked by South Park residents threaten a class action suit over their jibes, which they promise will be pulled only on the condition they can get Mohammed to meet them.
201 also harked back to past storylines and saw the return of the Super Best Friends, who team up to save South Park from the celebrities and their monster Mecha-Streisand, while Eric Cartman learns the true identity of his father.
Fundamentalist organisation Revolution Muslim warned the creators risked murder for their depiction of Muhammed in the episodes; as a result, Comedy Central heavily censored portions of them by removing references to Muhammad and its closing speech.
An Elephant Makes Love To A Pig
This episode was censored over fears of copycat crimes (Picture: Fox)
An Elephant Makes Love To A Pig is one of South Park’s earliest episodes -and is the first season of the beloved cartoon.
In it, the boys of South Park try to force Kyle’s pet elephant to crossbreed with Eric’s pet pig for a class project on genetic engineering, while Stan deals with issues with his violent sister Shelley.
It was the latter storyline, which also saw Shelley set Stan on fire at one point, that led to censorship over fears children would copy her behaviour, particularly as it came soon after a house fire was blamed on a child recreating an episode Beavis and Butt-Head.
South Park is available to stream on Paramount Plus.
Got a story?
If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.
Entertainment – MetroRead More