South Park has gone too far — across international waters and all the way to the cutting-room floor in China’s censorship offices. A recent episode of the 22-year-old show features a story line more or less designed to get pushback from the government, and creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s “apology” doubles down, making fun of companies that are quick to appease Chinese censors in order to make money. The episode, in which the boys form a metal band and have to contort their biopic to be acceptable to Chinese standards, has been wiped from streaming platform Youku while all discussion of the show itself has been erased from social-media sites like Weibo and Baida Tieba, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Also in the episode: Randy Marsh attempts to expand his weed business to China but immediately gets caught and sent to a work camp, where he meets Winnie the Pooh, a cuddly but deadly reference to Chinese president Xi Jinping that got Last Week Tonight censored last year.
Parker and Stone, presumably while clinking glasses and approving bonuses to their writers, released a backhanded apology via South Park’s Twitter, accomplishing three things: calling out the NBA’s reaction to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s expressing support for the Hong Kong protests, making more fun of President Xi, and plugging the next episode (Wednesday at 10 on Comedy Central; gotta recoup that money somehow). “Long live the Great Communist Party of China!” concludes Stone and Parker’s joint statement. “May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?”