Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why South Park Is Banned In Sri Lanka

"South Park" has never been shy about skewering religious figures since the very beginning. The viral VHS short, "The Spirit of Christmas" which was passed around Hollywood and eventually led to the creation of "South Park," depicts Jesus Christ brawling with Santa Claus. The Comedy Central show also got into hot water after using a visual depiction of Muhammed which was considered one of the most controversial episodes ever released.

In a scene that had angered many "South Park" fans, the depiction of the religious figure led to a radical Muslim organization called Revolution Muslim threatening serious violence against show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The threat was considered substantial, and it led to audio bleeps and censorship over the depiction when aired.

Besides bringing back a ton of celebrities that were once lambasted by the show, Muhammad was also brought back after the figure had been retroactively censored in Season 5 episode, "Super Best Friends." Comedy Central banned the two episodes that they appeared in after they aired and they have not been re-shown on the network. Streaming services that have carried the show, like HBO Max, have also not made the episodes available. Instead, they can only be seen on DVD where they carry a disclaimer at the beginning. Those same episodes led to a ban on the show in Sri Lanka.

South Park's penchant for making fun of religious figures got the show banned

The country of Sri Lanka completely banned "South Park" outright in April 2010. The ban came after the show depicted the religious figure Buddha snorting a line of cocaine in the Season 14 episodes, "200" and "201." According to Sri Lankan newspaper The Sunday Leader, the country's Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Uplift Secretary, H. M. Herath, said, "This is defamation to every religion. It is a crime and hurts others' beliefs, which shouldn't be done by any person. We should respect other people's beliefs." 

Herath continued that he would "ban the show, and even the entire TV series from coming to Sri Lanka." At that time, DVDs of the show were still available in the Western Province capital, Colombo. Episodes "200" and "201," also the 200th and 201st episodes of "South Park," were not the first appearances of Buddha in the show, as the series has a penchant for satirizing religious figures.

Buddha has appeared before on South Park

Buddha first appeared in the Season 5 episode, "Super Best Friends," as a part of the titular group. The group is made up of other religious figures such as Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad among others. In the episode, the DC Superfriends-like group attempt to take down magician David Blaine as he is forming a cult that the group feels needs to be stopped.

Buddha's next prominent appearance in the show comes in the aforementioned "200" and "201" episodes. In those episodes, numerous spoofed celebrities and religious figures are depicted as they come after the town of "South Park" with a class action lawsuit for mocking them, in a bit of meta-satire from the show. In the episode, Buddha is depicted as a cocaine addict and at one point is scolded by Jesus to stop doing coke in front of children. Buddha retorted that Jesus was addicted to internet pornography so he had no room to judge. It seemed after years of being on the air, the show never lost its edge, but its controversies caught up to it, leading to several bans including the Sri Lankan outright ban.