‘South Park’ Is Under Fire For Mocking Trans Athletes In Latest Episode

Alfie PowellAlfie Powell in Entertainment, TV
Published 15.11.19
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People are slamming the creators of South Park, saying they’ve sunk to new lows after mocking transgender athletes in a recent episode.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are in trouble again, only weeks after being under fire for mocking Chinese censorship laws and being banned in the country.

The latest episode is perhaps more controversial though – especially with a Western audience – as it appears to mock transgender athletes, feeding into the narrative that if a woman biologically used to be a man, it’s unfair that she should be allowed to compete against fellow women.

The episode, Board Girls, introduces a new character called Heather Swanson, a transgender woman who looks and sounds just like the late wrestler Randy Savage.

The character said that she started identifying as a woman two weeks ago in order to compete in a Strong Woman competition, saying:

I’m not here to talk about my transition, I’m here to kicking some f**king ass.”

It’s certainly a controversial move, but definitely what people have come to expect from the comedy series. I’m not sure you could be shocked by it at this point. I’m certainly not, but then as a straight white male, it’s easy for me to write things off as “just people overreacting”.

The episode that was previously banned in China was down to the writers mocking the country for their strict censorship policies.

As you might expect, the episode didn’t go down too well with certain Chinese audiences, and completely ignoring the irony that it also delved into how Winnie the Pooh was banned in the country after similarities were drawn between the Chinese president and the fictional bear, they banned the cartoon show.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, almost every mention, clip, episode and clip of South Park has been wiped from Chinese streaming and social media sites and because of that, the creators were backed into a corner to make an official apology. They wrote:

Like the NBA we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all.”

It’s hard to argue with South Park‘s stance, to be perfectly honest, and it’s always blatantly clear when certain things have been changed in films – such as the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange rather than a Tibetan actor – or entire films have been made – almost every Michael Bay Transformers film – for Chinese audiences.

Obviously I’m not saying that films should be made that alienate entire audiences, but when films are made this way, they alienate many, many more people than would be intended.

It’s a case of Chinese authorities needing to calm down, rather than the public needing to change their interests. Even as I’m writing this for The Hook of all places, I’m sort of worried. That’s not right, is it? Mind you, I’m probably just being paranoid.

We’ll see how this one pans out.

Images via Comedy Central

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