South Park's rapid-fire production schedule means that any notable gaffe in the wider culture triggers a countdown clock until it comes up in the conversation of foul-mouthed grade schoolers. LeBron James is not immune, as Trey Parker and Matt Stone echoed LeBron's pro-China language in the words of the routinely terrible Eric Cartman.
Cartman was protesting the school's decision to move to plant-based foods in the cafeteria, when he parroted a since-deleted tweet James sent out that was seemingly against the protestors in Hong Kong.
“We all talk about freedom of speech,” LeBron and Cartman said. “Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but at times there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you are not thinking about others and only thinking about yourself.”
James' tweet was in response to the Houston Rockets' Daryl Morey unabashedly supporting the protests in Hong Kong, a move that landed the NBA in hot water with China. After his tweet drew criticism, James attempted to clarify that he was feeling defensive after a tough week for the NBA.
"My team and this league just went through a difficult week," James wrote. "I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen. Could have waited a week to send it."
South Park has frequently prodded China this season, taking on the practice of editing movies to please Chinese censors in an earlier episode. The creators then issued a faux apology, mocking both China and the NBA.
“Like the NBA, we welcome Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts," they said. "We too love money more than freedom and democracy.”