As CNN reports, Jesse Curtis Morton, otherwise known as Younus Abdullah Mohammad, was charged with making threats against Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park. He becomes the second person in one year to be charged for South Park protests: Muslim convert Zachary Adam Chesser — who, along with Morton, is a member of Revolution Muslim — was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his online comments after an episode of the series that depicted Muhammad in a bear suit. (In his statements, Chesser told Stone and Parker that they could face violent retribution, and could end up like Theo Van Gogh, who was murdered by an extremist in 2004 after releasing a short film about violence against women in the Muslim world.)
Morton and Chesser might have unleashed the harshest response to any South Park episode, but they certainly aren’t the first group to have protested the series. The Parents Television Council, the Action for Children’s Television, The Catholic League, and even the show’s own Isaac Hayes have encouraged boycotts or released harsh statements against the show. (Hayes, for example, issued the following statement after he quit South Park over “Trapped In the Closet,” an episode that poked fun at his religion, Scientology: “There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins. Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored. As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices.”) After watching the show for nearly 15 years on Comedy Central, it’s hard not to wonder: Is there anyone else left to offend?
A shortlist of groups/ideas/people parodied so far on South Park: Muslim extremists, Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Scientology, rednecks, the elderly, Goths, Gingers, homosexuals, the impoverished, the police, Canada, Mel Gibson, Democrats, Republicans, President Obama, President Bush, Osama bin Laden, the Pope, Asians, Paris Hilton, Barbra Streisand, High School Musical, Santa Claus, Apple products and, of course, Family Guy.
And that’s just on the top of my head! In fact, the list has become so long, it’s easy to be desensitized watching the show. South Park continues to shock me (mostly, honestly, for their speed reacting to current events), but it’s hard to feel offended by its content, no matter how many groups above I belong to. (Disclosure: Only one. I’ll let you guess. I’ll give you a hint: I’m not the Pope.) Especially when the show continues to be so goddamn smart.
Is there anyone left for South Park to offend? (Short answer: Yes. Plenty.) But does the show actually offend you, even if you’re part of a group Stone and Parker target?
Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW