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HBO, Producers Respond to Controversy

A sudden and perhaps not unexpected flurry of media interest in a passing DVD commentary remark made by executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss—that’d be for the Bluray and DVD released back in March—has led to a response from both HBO and Benioff & Weiss.

As those who’ve sat through the commentaries know, Weiss and Benioff pointed out that one of the heads on spikes in a season 1 scene featuring Joffrey and Sansa was in fact a repurposed prop head that appears to have been modelled after George W. Bush. In the commentary, they noted it was not a political statement, merely the result of having to work with the heads they have around (prosthetic heads are quite expensive to make—so much so that the idea that George R.R. Martin could get his cameo as one of the severed heads was nixed when they revealed to him how much it would cost to get a custom prop head made).

That is, apparently, not good enough for Craig Eaton, chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party. According to the Daily Mail, Eaton—who doesn’t actually watch the show—has called for a boycott, likening the revelation that one of the heads was that of former President Bush to weakening the United States in the eyes of the world.

In the early Pacific evening, the following statement went out from Benioff and Weiss:

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.

And from HBO, in the same release:

We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste.  We made this clear to the executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake.  We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production.

I wonder what they mean to remove from future DVDs—are they going to digitally remove the head? Or simply the commentary from Weiss and Benioff pointing it out?

Here’s hoping Jon Stewart and co. make a segment out of this for The Daily Show.

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