Sun, Oct 29, 2006 - Page 5 News List

South Park's Steve Irwin episode may make Australian TV


A controversial cartoon comedy poking fun at the death of Australia's "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin will likely screen in his home country, despite the offense it may cause, media reported yesterday.

An episode of the irreverent US cartoon series South Park, set to air in the US this week, depicts the late Australian icon at a fancy dress party in Hell with a stingray barb sticking out of his chest.

Irwin was killed just eight weeks ago when a stingray barb pierced his heart while filming a segment for his daughter Bindi's upcoming documentary for children, prompting widespread mourning among Australians.

Australian television channel, SBS, which has the rights to the program, said it would probably screen the episode next year, Sky News reported.

"It is satire and we believe in the right to satire, but in this particular episode it is sensitive -- just like many others -- and we will consider that," SBS content manager Matt Campbell said.

"We have offended people in the past and probably will again," a South Park spokesman said after the show's Web site received a flood of outraged correspondence.

"We know that regular watchers will not be shocked," he said.

The series has repeatedly come under fire for its controversial content, with an episode showing the Virgin Mary menstruating sparking widespread protests among Catholics, and its mockery of Scientology that prompted scientologist Isaac Hayes, one of South Park's main voice actors, to quit the show.

South Park has also lampooned Irwin in the past, showing him terrorizing animals in a 1999 episode.

Irwin's manager, John Stainton, who recently slammed a US rapper for alluding to a stingray death while taking a swipe at a rival rapper, said this week he no longer logged onto the Internet, because of the amount of "distasteful" Crocodile Hunter material, the Australian Associated Press reported.

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