South Park Controversy


Nick Ashak (11th), Reporter

Although little kids now mostly grow up on YouTube videos and cell phones, as a kid in the late 2000s and early 2010s, I didn’t have an iPhone and games to play on all the time. When I wasn’t outside playing around or playing with friends or family, I was watching TV. Most little kids love to mess around with the TV remote and just about anything, so the curious little kid I was clicking two random numbers on the remote and it led me to a cartoon with four 4th graders at an elementary school. 30 seconds later my parents hear cursing and insane jokes, and it turns out South Park was on. 

South Park is a cartoon, but to sum it up, not every single cartoon show with little kids who go to school is for kids. This show is considered so inappropriate that when they released the movie for it, it received higher than an R rating (18+) due to how vulgar it was. The controversy behind its annual TV-MA rating isn’t even near the controversy they have received making fun of celebrities. In every single episode, at least one celebrity is mentioned. Lately, people have been saying the show has taken it as far as they could; which is saying a lot considering they have already been in deep trouble with possibly your favorite actor or singer. There is a whole Wikipedia page just dedicated to “South Park Controversy” which explains a lot.

One episode alone caused Tom Cruise and the religion of Scientology to take action and attempt to sue them, and even led to the departure of fan favorite Chef actor Isaac Hayes. One episode had the entire city of Mexico upset due to how they displayed the Mexican flag. Jennifer Lopez got so upset about her portrayal on an episode she tried to get people to attempt to cancel the entire show. While all of these – and plenty other situations – have been taken care of, recently some news came out after a few years of staying out of trouble.

South Park recently made an episode making fun of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s private life, on how they always claim to want privacy yet mock them for constantly bringing themselves into the public eye, even with these statements, and calling Harry a “victim” for getting advice from a public relations expert. Despite Harry claiming he has an extreme sense of humor, this out of all things threw him and Meghan completely off. 

Harry and Meghan were rumored to sue for a while, but later called this whole situation “pointless”. That is a complete lie. Harry is still talking about this despite them “calling it off” a week ago, claiming that “he is not a victim” and keeps bringing tiny remarks about the parody when everybody let it go. The media took the whole situation bigger than the actual victims of the joke, pushing to sue the show. They are already being sued for 500 million by Warner Bros due to streaming rights, so if Harry and Meghan somehow switch up and decide to sue (which in my opinion is pointless over a joke you claimed was pointless) the show can be in big trouble.

Social media was not done with South Park yet. A clip from 2014 of South Park mocking transgender bathroom policies went viral again, and I’ve seen videos on my TikTok for you page with plenty of views and likes calling for the show to be “canceled” due to it. The clip shows everybody’s favorite 4th grade troublemaker Eric Cartman “abusing transgender identity politics for his own ends” to make fun of them as he attempts to use the bathroom of his opposite gender. People all around the world may see this or the entire show itself offensive, as this is extremely light compared to everything else on the show (if you’ve seen it, you definitely know), so I wanted to know how people from Pitman felt about the show. I interviewed my friend Lilyana (11th) about it, and she, just like many other people have said, including the actual creators of the show, just said that the goal of the show itself is to be sarcastic and nothing – especially like something as little as this – should be taken seriously. I agree, while sometimes the jokes on there can be crazy, people online sometimes take the light celebrity jabs way too seriously.

South Park, overall being one of the most successful shows of all time with extremely rich creators, probably really does not care about what the victims of their jokes have to say if legal action is ever taken toward them. Despite all the controversy, it is critically acclaimed for a reason.