HBO has pulled the tenth episode of Game of Thrones after it was revealed that a model of former President George W. Bush's severed head was used in the Season 1 finale.
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that HBO has yanked the tenth episode of Game of Thrones, one of the network's most popular dramas, from rotation on digital platforms, including HBO Go and iTunes. HBO has also halted future shipments of the Season 1 DVD set. The finale will be re-edited for all future airings both domestically and internationally. It will be returned to digital platforms once the controversial scene is removed.
Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were lambasted for the Bush head snafu when reports of the sighting surfaced on Wednesday. The controversial scene features a model of Bush's severed head, complete with long locks, on a spike. In the scene, King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) makes Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) look at the decapitated head of her father (Sean Bean). That is when the camera focuses on what is Bush's head in the background.
The executive producers of the show acknowledge in the Game of Thrones Season 1 DVD commentary that the severed head is, in fact, George W. Bush.
The last head on the left is George Bush, one of the show-runners is heard saying during the commentary feature on the DVD, according to the Washington Post. George Bush's head appears in a couple beheading scenes. It's not a choice; it's not a political statement. It's just, we had to use what heads we had around.
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However, once the public got wind of the prop and backlash ensued, HBO issued an apology.
We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste, HBO said in a statement Friday. We made this clear to the executive producers of the series, who apologized immediately for this careless mistake. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms and have halted all future shipments of the DVDs, removed it from our digital platforms and will edit the scene for all future airings on any distribution domestic or international.
Beinoff and Weiss offered an explanation as well:
What happened was this: We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can't afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W. Bush. In the DVD commentary, we mentioned this, though we should not have. We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologize if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.
For some, the use of Bush's head in the Game of Thrones episode spoke volumes about the nation.
Craig Eaton, chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party, told the MailOnline that he thinks it's despicable.
As a country, Democrats, Republicans, we have to have respect for the office and the individuals. Once we lose that respect, the United States looks weak, he said.
The show is currently in its second season.
Watch the controversial Game of Thrones episode below. George W. Bush's head can be seen at the 1:09 mark.