HBO has apologized for commentary on the “Game of Thrones” first-season DVD release, in which the executive producers note that one of several decapitated heads on sticks is that of ex-POTUS George W. Bush.
(See the video with commentary here.)
The premium cable network says that it has halted all future shipments of the DVDs, has removed them from its digital platforms and will edit the scene for all future telecasts.
“The last head on the left is George Bush,” one of the show-runners for the popular, and sometimes gruesome, fantasy drama series is heard saying during the Episode 10 commentary — commentary being one of the extras offered in the first-season release. What appears to be Bush’s head is seen in profile, mostly masked by a long, scraggly brown wig.
“George Bush’s head appears in a couple beheading scenes,” the show-runner says. “It’s not a choice; it’s not a political statement. It’s just, we had to use what heads we had around.”
Given that the first season was shot in Ireland and Malta, according to HBO, it is kind of a head scratcher as to why there was a head of George W. Bush “around.”
“We were deeply dismayed to see this, and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste,” HBO said Thursday in a statement after being alerted to the DVD commentary, which was first noticed by the Web site Reddit.
“We made this clear to the executive producers of the series, who apologized immediately for this careless mistake,” HBO continued. “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.”
The two show-runners who provided the commentary, Americans David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, weighed in, too:
“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.”