Comedy Central’s affiliate broadcaster in Sweden has announced it will not be airing two controversial episodes of the satirical South Park cartoon which feature the Muslim prophet Mohammed wearing a bear costume.
“Comedy Central has decided not to air these two episodes of South Park. It is a decision we’ve made with great reluctance. Comedy Central believes strongly in creative freedom of expression; when unique and deeply insightful creative talents like those behind South Park are able to express themselves freely, we all benefit.”
“However, the safety of our employees is our unquestioned number one priority, and therefore we have decided to take these precautionary measures,” explained the broadcaster in a statement to Aftonbladet.
Comedy Central spokesman Peter von Satzgerl said that the move was due to ‘international directives’ from the United States-based parent network.
The controversial cartoon series first aired the Mohammed joke as part of its 200th episode celebration, which broadcast on April 14, reports The Local. The broadcast prompted retaliation threats aimed at the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, from an Islamist group which has since been linked to the recent New York bomb plot.
The threat, which appeared on revolutionmuslim.com, warned Parker, Stone and the wider US media that they would “probably wind up like Theo van Gogh”, a Dutch filmmaker who was killed after criticising Islam in a 2004 production.
The warnings were apparently heeded by the South Park creators, as the second instalment of the centenary show saw the prophet replaced with Santa Claus and bleeping of the name ‘Mohammed’.
The 200th episode also featured Jesus chastising Buddha for snorting cocaine, and Tom Cruise threatening a law suit against the town unless Mohammed was handed over to angry celebrities. The Ginger Separatist Movement also tried to get their hands on the prophet.