HBO Pulls, Re-Editing ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode With George W. Bush’s Head on a Stake

HBO goes beyond plans to update DVDs featuring facsimile of president's decapitated head

HBO has pulled the episode of "Game of Thrones" featuring a prosthetic decapitated head that resembled former President George W. Bush. The show will also edit the head from future airings, the network said.

"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 careless mistake," HBO said in a statement. "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.”

Also read: HBO, 'Game of Thrones' Sorry About Bush's Severed Head

That statement was an update of one issued late Wednesday,  in which HBO said the head would not appear in future DVDs.

HBO issued the statement after several online outlets reported that on the season 1 DVD of the show, creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss identified one of the show's many severed heads as belonging to Bush. They said it wasn't a political statement, and that they simply had to use whatever prosthetic heads were available.

Although they identified the head as Bush's in the DVD, they said in a subsequent statement that someone only noticed the resemblance to Bush after the scene was shot. It appeared in the season finale.

"We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc." Benioff and Weiss said in the statement Wednesday. "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."

Also read: Is 'Game of Thrones' Political? (Why George W. Bush's Head on a Spike May Just Be a Head on a Spike)

They went on: "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."

On the DVD commentary, Benioff says, "the last head on the left is George Bush."

"George Bush's head appears in a couple beheading scenes," adds Weiss.

"It's not a choice, it's not a political statement," explains Benioff. "It's just, we had to use what heads we had around."