All 23 seasons of the Comedy Central animation South Park are available on HBO Max – except for five episodes that depict Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Sources tell Deadline the missing episodes were not part of the 23-season package shopped by Viacom to streamers last year, and Viacom had made the decision to exclude them in agreement with series producer South Park Studios before the show was licensed to HBO Max.
The controversial episodes violate a widespread Islamic belief that depictions of Muhammad or any of the other prophets of Islam are forbidden, as they encourage the worship of idols. The prohibitions cover images, drawings, statues and cartoons.
The episodes not available on HBO Max include season five’s Super Best Friends and season 14’s 200 and 201. Those shows had previously been removed from a streaming deal with Hulu and also were axed on the official South Park website. Also not made available to HBO Max were season 10’s Cartoon Wars Part I and Cartoon Wars Part 2, although those episodes can still be streamed on the South Park website.
South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were threatened in 2010 for the prior depictions of Muhammad. That prompted Comedy Central to remove voice and visual references in the episodes, and eventually to pull the entire episodes from streaming.
HBO Max licensed South Park last year for a deal estimated at more than $500 million. The series has also been renewed for three more seasons by Comedy Central, with new episodes available on HBO Max 24 hours after initially airing on Comedy Central.