A recent episode of the animated television satire series South Park has upset a gay media group in the US.

Last week’s episode of the long-running show, broadcast on Comedy Central, featured “rampant use” of the anti-gay slurs “fag” and “faggot” as the characters of Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny attempted to drive a local biker gang out of town.

The show suggests that the words are no longer defined as being anti-gay in popular usage but have become insults separate from a person’s sexuality.

The slurs are used as often as possible throughout the episode but to the children of South Park they refer to the members of the biker gangs – and not gay people. The children even convince the “head dictionary editor” to change the definition of the F-word to read:

“Fag n. 1. An extremely annoying, inconsiderate person most commonly associated with Harley riders.

2. A person who owns or frequently rides a Harley.”

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) commented that although “the writers of South Park attempted to craft a commentary on the shifting meaning of words, the fact of the matter is that the F-word is and remains a hateful slur that is often the last word heard by LGBT people as they fall victim to hate crimes.”

The organisation noted that just this year 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Massachusetts hung himself, unable to endure further anti-gay bullying at school which included constant use of the F-word.

GLAAD said that it encouraged people to contact Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, as well as Comedy Central, to share their personal stories of the negative impact the anti-gay slurs have had on their lives.

“It is important that the people behind South Park realise that the F-word is not just a harmless insult; it is a hateful word with often violent consequences,” said the organisation.

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