The creators of HBO's"Game of Thrones" found themselves in a bit of hot water on Wednesday when word spun around the Internet that former President George W. Bush's likeness made a very unflattering cameo in the first season of the epic fantasy series. More specifically: a prop severed head bearing the former president's likeness appeared mounted on a stick.
Though the head was given a wig of long hair, spattered in mud and turned mostly away from the camera, the distinctive upper lip was a giveaway. And the creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss pointed it out in the DVD commentary on the episode.
"George Bush's head appears in a couple of beheading scenes," the duo revealed in their commentary. "It's not a choice, it's not a political statement. We just had to use whatever heads we had lying around."
Though the DVD set has been on the market since early March, it wasn't until this week that the media discovered the bit of trivia buried in the commentary on the show's first season finale.
On Wednesday, HBO and Benioff and Weiss issued statements of apology.
Benioff and Weiss explained, "We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. 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 added, "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."
HBO's statement should be of particular note to super-fans, as the version of the "Game of Thrones" DVD set available looks to be a collector's item soon.
The commentary was first shared on the news site Reddit, where commenters quickly began wondering about why the production company would have a George W. Bush head lying around. As one commenter wrote, "I thought everyone just had Bush heads lying around. I keep trying to sell all of mine at garage sales."