HBO calls Thrones' Bush beheading 'unacceptable, disrespectful'

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Dec 17, 2012

Yesterday, we told you about a very odd (and accidental) Game of Thrones cameo by former President George W. Bush's head. Now, with the news all over the 'net and some viewers rather unhappy about it, HBO wants to let you know they're sorry.

To recap: A severed head that very closely resembles W appears briefly on a pike in a scene from the season-one finale, "Fire and Blood." Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss acknowledge that it is Bush's head in the DVD commentary, but are careful to note that it's not intended as a political statement. They just use whatever fake heads they have around.

But even with that explanation built right into the reveal, HBO felt compelled to let the public (and by extension, Bush himself) know that they're very sorry the former president's fake cranium wound up on the end of a stick in a castle that doesn't actually exist.

"We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste," the network said. "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."

So, apparently, if you already own a Thrones DVD that includes the Bush head sequence, you now have a bit of a collectible.

If Benioff and Weiss hadn't actually remarked on the appearance of Bush's head during their DVD commentary for the episode, we probably wouldn't be talking about this. Sure, some viewers might have noticed that the head bore a resemblance to Bush, but given that the face is mostly obscured by hair, no one would ever have been sure unless someone who actually worked on the show came forward and confirmed it. As it is, their offhand commentary remark landed them in hot water with their network (and some of their viewers), so they joined in with an apology of their own that also explains how the head made it to set in the first place.

"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 with that, we can probably put this incident behind us (unless the president reacts to the news with a call for a cameo on the show as a living person), but you can bet we'll be freeze-framing on every single severed head we see from now on to make sure Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan don't also make the victims list.

(Via Deadline)