South Park hopped back on the Ye train on Wednesday night (Feb. 8) in the season 26 opening episode, “Cupid Ye,” in which Kyle, Stan and the gang sent up Kanye West‘s recent string of antisemitic rants. The Valentine’s Day-themed episode found Cartman’s Cupid Me character twisted into Cupid Ye, a naughty cherub who shoots hearts filled with antisemitism instead of love at his targets.
The plot ostensibly focused on Stan’s jealously over the budding friendship between Kyle — who is Jewish — and Tolkien, prompting “good Christian” Cartman to do something about it. His plan, such as it was, includes confronting Tolkien in the band room during practice and praising the show’s only Black character for being “OK” with hanging out with “someone like [Kyle] … given all the new information lately.”
As Tolkien continues honking on his horn unconcerned, Cartman adds, “You know, the stuff that’s come out about how the Jews stole the Black race’s identity? That the lost tribes of Judah were actually all Africans? You didn’t hear about this? Black people are actually the Jews and people like Kyle have taken that from them?”
After Tolkien begs him to stop talking, Cartman doubles down and goes on a 100% historically dubious rant about how when Jews came to America to escape persecution during World War II, they arrived to find that Black people were already the “underclass” in the nation, “so they had to invent a story for themselves which they could make everyone believe because Kyle runs Hollywood!”
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The bit was an obvious nod to the string of hateful, antisemitic comments Kanye (who now goes by Ye) made in late 2022, which included a series of talk-show and podcast appearances in which the former billionaire musician and clothing designer repeated conspiracy theories about the Jewish people. The hate speech spurred widespread condemnation and resulted in Ye being dropped by his record label, publicists, lawyers, fashion collaborators and brand partners in one of the swiftest, most thorough downfalls of a major pop culture figure in recent memory.
The South Park crew — who’ve made Ye a repeated source of ridicule on the long-running series — had their usual irreverent way with the controversy, with Cartman promising Stan that Kyle would be back by his side soon enough. Cue Cupid Ye flying in to remind Cartman of all the lies he told him and promising to “get the word out.”
As Kyle and Tolkien continue cranking out TikToks together, fellow students begin to ask Kyle if its true that he runs Hollywood as they pitch him a guy-with-guns-for-hands movie. “I’m not even going to justify that with a response,” an incensed Kyle shoots back. “Because repeating a derogatory slur, even for the purpose of refuting it can make stupid people think it’s valid!”
And there was the point.
Cupid Ye, with a mic in one hand and a crucifix in the other, later returns to assure Cartman that he would help him spread the word, even as the conflicted 10-year-old worries that ever since Cupid changed his name and found Jesus he’s been acting a bit “bats–t crazy.” Which, of course, led to Cupid Ye visiting Tolkien in his sleep and whisper antisemitic tropes in his ear, suggesting that Kyle is the one really profiting off their TikToks.
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There was also a takedown of woke culture, a hard diss at Avatar 2 and a parody of one of West’s masked media interviews spreading anti-Jewish hate in which even Cartman has to slow Cupid Ye’s Kanye-like claim that “Hitler actually wasn’t a bad guy.”
*Editor’s Note: After an Oct. 8, 2022, tweet in which he announced he was going “death con [sic] 3 on Jewish people,” Kanye West (Ye) has repeatedly doubled down on antisemitic hate speech, even going so far as to praise Hitler, a man responsible for the systematic murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust. This arrives at a troubling time when antisemitism is on the rise, with the Anti-Defamation League noting a 34% year-over-year increase in antisemitic incidents (assault, harassment and vandalism) in America in 2021. Many companies have cut business ties with the rapper/fashion designer, while numerous musicians, friends and politicians have condemned his comments.
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