South Park producer: the clip is fake, the censorship is real

South Park Executive Producer Anne Garefino confirms that I was right, according to Volokh: “a short video circulating on the internet, which purports to be the excised South Park scene with Mohammed, is a forgery.” But “she revealed that a scene with Mohammed was animated and does exist. Garefino reported that she still hopes that the original, uncensored episode of South Park will be shown in the near future.”

On the other hand, Garefino also claims that I was wrong:

In an interview Thursday evening, South Park Executive Producer Anne Garefino revealed to me that the show was faced with two options: deliver the episode as written and animated with Mohammed shown and then allow Comedy Central to censor it, or edit out the disputed scene and write their own language explaining why Mohammed was not being shown and whose decision it was. “We wanted everyone to understand how strongly we felt about this,” said Garefino. Although the decision to omit Mohammed was not theirs, they wanted the language of the censorship disclosure to be their own.

Along with South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker (who are also Executive Producers of the show), Garefino was heavily involved in the negotiations with Comedy Central. She made clear that the reason for Comedy Central’s decision was “fear”: “We were happy that they didn’t try to claim that it was because of religious tolerance.” She thought that South Park’s arguments and influence might have had something to do with the candor of Comedy Central executives on this point. …

When asked whether Comedy Central was responding to any specific threats of violence if it showed Mohammed, Garefino replied, “Not that I know of.”

I still won’t entirely believe it until I’ve seen next week’s episode and nothing unexpected happens (like Mohammed randomly appearing and saying, “Just kidding”). Sorta like how I didn’t believe that Gmail was real until April 2, 2004 dawned without a retraction.

Incidentally, the full episode is now available at YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. (Hat tip: The Right Nation.)

UPDATE: Tracy Twyman says the episode contained a very direct message to network president Doug Herzog. Heh.

11 Responses to “South Park producer: the clip is fake, the censorship is real”

  1. isuquinndog says:

    Especially when everyone thought that screen shot was fake, when in fact it’s real. :)

  2. Angrier and Angrier says:

    While this blog has committed unlimited time and energy to a commercial entity’s decision not to do something, which is completely within its rights, six retired generals who served under Rummy in the past three years are calling for his resignation. I’m pretty sure that this did not happen during Vietnam. What do all you right wingers have to say about these “America-hating, hippy, flip-flopping” Generals? Or have you chickenhawks had your bluff called by guys infinitely more qualified on this subject than you will ever be?

  3. Brendan Loy says:

    If there is a more tiresome argument than “you should be blogging about _____ instead of _____, and the fact that you aren’t is an outrage,” I don’t know what it is. The blogosphere is a big place, Angrier, and I am under no obligation to blog about any particular issue more or less than I damn well feel like. I’ve latched onto the South Park thing because I thought it was interesting and unique, and I’ve gotten quite a lot of traffic for it, so obviously I’m going to keep blogging about it because now I have a new crop of readers who came here because they’re interested in it. Is that pandering to my audience? YES! That goes with the territory. I am not the New York Times; I’m under no obligation to tailor my content to some supposedly objective story priority. I blog about things that I find interesting and feel like blogging about — PERIOD. Oftentimes what I blog about is entirely based on a whim. That’s not going to change. As it happens, I didn’t see the story about Rummy. Nobody sent it to me and I didn’t happen to stumble on it. Maybe I’ll blog about it at some point, or maybe one of my guestbloggers will, or maybe not. If not, you’re certainly free to hijack a thread and start a discussion on it, as you’re clearly attempting to do here. By “free” I don’t mean that I necessarily encourage it, but I won’t try to stop you either. But for you, in the process of a thread-hijacking, to criticize me for “committ[ing] unlimited time” to another topic, rather than your topic of choice, is useless and annoying. If I had to post about every topic that everyone on this blog finds interesting, I’d have no time to breathe. Luckily, I am not a public utility, and I plan to continue deciding what to blog about in an entirely arbitrary fashion. love it or leave it. :)

  4. Brendan Loy says:

    P.S. By the way, when I posted yesterday about the university that expelled the gay student, where was your ire over the impropriety of devoting “time and energy to a commercial entity’s decision not to do something, which is completely within its rights”?

    Just because someone has the right to do something, doesn’t mean it is right for them to do it, nor does it mean that it’s a waste of time to criticize them for doing it if they choose to do so. Indeed, it’s precisely because there is no First Amendment to prevent corporations and private individuals from infringing the freedom of speech that it’s so important to speak out against such actions when they are unjustified. Criticism from concerned citizens and consumers is the only check on private censorship!

  5. David Kreutz says:

    Hahaha thats hilarious about the g-mail thing.

  6. Andrew Long says:

    Six generals out of how many? A hundred? Whoop-de-do. No one ever claimed there wasn’t internal opposition in the Pentagon to Rummy’s leadership. He was controversial at the Pentagon even before 9/11.

  7. Lojo says:

    Well, Angrier… I wonder what your opinion was of all the Swiftboat vets campaign against Kerry then? Do they count as well, or is it only because a Bush admin figure could be harmed?

  8. David Kreutz says:

    No Lojo, its because these are Generals who have no political agenda to spin and have proven they’re worth listening to, unlike the SwiftBoaters who had a political agenda and had no reason to be listened to.

    I’m not surprised one bit that you guys are yet again jumping all over yourselves to defend Bush, well I am surprised about Andrew, I thought he wouldn’t be drinking the Kool-Aid quite this much.

  9. C Bassett says:

    I’d say that it’s more than likely that an equal or greater amount of generals will come out in support of Rumsfeld, sometime soon. You just know a bunch of them are talking about it right now. Then us blog comment pundits will find ourselves in a quagmire. Let’s not let it get too bloody.

  10. Angrier and Angrier says:

    First, these are six generals who have all served in Iraq in the past two years. I’m sure more generals will speak out as they retire. I still don’t recall any retired general actively criticizing McNamara, Johnson or Nixon during the Vietnam War who had commanded during the Vietnam War.

    Second, the real outrage about the Swiftboat deal was 1) Kerry was too fucking clueless to respond and, instead, listened to Bob (0 for 8) Shrum, and 2) The guy who headed Swiftboats for Bullshit and who was supposedly “independent” was working for the Nixon Administration during Vietnam to debunk the Vietnam veterans peace movement and the mainstream media committed 0.0% time reporting on that fact.

  11. Angrier and Angrier says:


    Regarding the amount of outrage I should or shouldn’t feel about Comedy Central, the truth is if you are hoping that a unit of a multi-billion dollar corporation, a corporation whose fundamental responsibility is to generate a return for investors, is going to demonstrate political courage, you are going to be sorely disappointed in life.