All 23 seasons of South Park are now available to stream on HBO Max – except for five episodes that depict Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
According to Deadline, the the decision to not include the missing episodes on the streaming service was agreed upon in advance.
The controversial episodes go against a widespread Islamic belief that forbids depictions of Muhammad or any of the other prophets of Islam, as they encourage the worship of idols. This goes for images, drawings, statues and cartoons.
The episodes removed from HBO Max include season five’s ‘Super Best Friends’ and season 14’s ‘200’ and ‘201’, which had previously been removed from a streaming deal with Hulu and were also axed on the official South Park website.
It’s not the first time that South Park has been censored due to the depictions of Prophet Muhammad. Back in 2010, Comedy Central caved in to pressure and censored an episode featuring the religious leader after someone claiming to represent the group Revolution Muslims posted a death threat aimed at creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, saying they “will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh.”
South Park was licensed to WarnerMedia’s HBO Max by ViacomCBS last year in a deal estimated at more than $500 million.
Meanwhile, Comedy Central has renewed South Park for another three seasons, with the series now guaranteed to continue into 2022.
The announcement means that the show will at least run to an impressive 26th season. The show is already the longest-running animated series behind The Simpsons, as well as the longest-running prime-time scripted series.