Grammy-winning electronic music superstar Zedd says he’s been “permanently banned” from China after liking a single Tweet from “South Park’s” official account.
DJ Zedd, who is German, tweeted about the incident on Saturday, noting on the social media platform that, “I just got permanently banned from China because I liked a @SouthPark tweet.”
I just got permanently banned from China because I liked a @SouthPark tweet.
— Zedd (@Zedd) October 10, 2019
The Tweet in question was this one, promoting “South Park’s” 300th episode.
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 9, 2019
Fox News reports that the DJ’s publicist confirmed the permanent ban on Saturday night; “This is true, yes, but we don’t have any more info to give you at this time,” he told CNBC.
Zedd, whose real name is Anton Zaslavski, did not immediately elaborate on what a “permanent ban” from China entails, but following a “South Park” episode where the main characters flout Chinese censorship laws, the cartoon’s creators found that “South Park” was essentially scrubbed from the internet in China. Clips of the show were removed from the country’s YouTube clone site, discussions about the show were shut down on internet message boards, and the show’s Chinese social media presence vanished overnight.
Fox News reports that Zedd’s music is, at least, still available in China as of Saturday night, and that his catalog of music hasn’t been pulled down from Chinese streaming services. EDM.com, which tracks electronic music acts as they travel the globe, reports that concert promoters have been forced to cancel Zedd’s upcoming performances in China.
Zedd confirmed that report in a Instagram post, adding that his “permanet ban” is “not a joke:” “…this is NOT a joke. The government informed our promoters that if they don’t cancel my scheduled shows in China, they would pull their cultural permits.”
“South Park’s” creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, took aim at China in the show’s most recent season premiere, targeting China over reports that the Communist country is holding more than one million ethnic Chinese Muslims in concentration camps, and skewering major corporations like Disney for accepting Chinese censorship in order for access to the Chinese market.
One of the show’s main characters ends up on a Chinese “re-education” camp for selling marijuana while on a business trip. At the same time, the South Park kids form a band that becomes an overnight global sensation; their musical act breaks up after members are told they must rewrite their songs in order to gain access to Chinese audiences.
“South Park’s” 300th episode, which airs this week, will take aim at the anti-vaccination movement, not necessarily Chinese censors, but the show’s creators, Parker and Stone, promise the episode will have more to say on the issue of Chinese meddling in American art.
The episodes could not have come at a better time, of course. The NBA recently issued a groveling apology to China after the general manager of the Houston Rockets Tweeted support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. NBA players and coaches — and the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver — have since avoided making any strong statements on China, apparently at the behest of Chinese censors who have threatened an economic boycott of the NBA.