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Russian Prosecutors Once Tried To Take Down South Park

Over the years, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "South Park" has made a name for itself as one of the most offensive cartoons ever created — and as such, the series frequently finds itself at the center of controversy. It's not rare that viewers find themselves fuming from a "South Park episode, and indeed, the show's habit of lampooning traditionally taboo subject matter has led to the series being heavily censored in several countries, including the United States.

Perhaps the best example of this came in the Season 14 episode "201," which originally included a depiction of Islam's Muhammad. Comedy Central famously censored all references to Muhammad within the episode, and they placed a large black bar over Muhammad whenever he was on the screen — effectively turning the final two minutes of the episode into a single continuous audio bleep (via IGN). There's no question that the series has made plenty of enemies over the years, and at times even the "South Park" writers have had to apologize for some of the offensive content that the series has produced. As it happens, one of the series' most vocal enemies was the Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith, which attempted to get the series outright banned back in 2010.

Russian prosecutors once filed a motion to ban South Park, claiming that the series could incite religious hatred

In 2008, the Russian Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith requested that Russian prosecutors ban "South Park" from open broadcast, claiming that the series "Insults the feelings of religious believers and incites religious and national hatred" (via CBC News). The group specifically targeted the Season 3 episode "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics," which depicted Mr. Hankey himself (a sentient piece of poop) reimagining popular Christmas songs alongside special guests like Satan and Adolf Hitler.

The complaints led to direct action from the Moscow Prosecutor General's Office, which filed a motion to ban the series and claimed that, in their words, "["South Park"] could provoke ethnic conflict and spark inter-religious hate." Although this motion ultimately ended up failing, in the years that followed "South Park" still received plenty of criticism and censorship within Russia — most notably in 2009, when the Russian channel 2X2 cut a specific episode that depicted Vladimir Putin in a negative light, according to The Independent.

Although these Russian prosecutors may not have succeeded in their quest to completely ban "South Park" from open broadcast, it's clear that the country has no reservations about censoring some of the series' more incendiary content.