HBO and producers of hit fantasy series Game of Thrones have apologized for a scene in the final episode of the first season that shows former U.S. President George W. Bush's severed head perched on the end of a spear.
Website io9.com reported on Wednesday that a Reddit user discovered that during the DVD commentary show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss mentioned that one of the decapitated heads in the scene where King Joffrey Baratheon forces his betrothed Sansa Stark to look at the head of her father after he was beheaded for treason was that of the former Commander in Chief.
The pair's commentary sparked outrage and now apologies have been issued by both Benioff and Weiss and HBO.
"We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc," the two say in a statement. "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."
HBO adds, "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."
Benioff and Weiss said the use of the head wasn't a "political statement" and that it appears in other scenes as well during their commentary.
The excuse for using Bush's likeness on the show is understandable, as the show boasts one of the biggest budgets on television and nearly had to scrap a major battle scene from the second season's penultimate episode over constraints.