Scott Ellis and Esther Han June 15, 2012
A screenshot from Game of Thrones showing ex-President George Bush's head on a stick.
The medieval-fantasy television drama Game Of Thrones has long drawn flak for its violence, nudity, language and the countless taboo themes they explore, but now the show is really under fire - for cutting off the head of a US president and mounting it on a pike.
Without giving away too much, the finale of season one features a scene where one of the major characters meets a grisly end, with their head lopped off and offered up for all to see.
And when it is seen, there alongside is the head of former president George Bush, dripping blood as it sits atop a spear, pictured.
The show's creators David Benioff and DB Weiss admit in their commentary to the recently released DVD of the first series that it is Bush's head, but insist it is not a political statement.
''It's just … we had to use what heads we had lying around,'' one of the show's creators is heard to say as the grisly spectacle unfolds.
Still, that has been enough for American politicians to call for a boycott of the show and its broadcaster, HBO.
''It's despicable,'' said the chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party, Craig Eaton. ''Americans of all political persuasions should stand up and demand that things like this should not continue. They should boycott watching this particular show.''
The outcry prompted HBO and the show's creators to issue an apology.
"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," Benioff and Weiss said.
"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 apologise if anything we said or did suggested otherwise."
A statement from the network 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 apologised immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production."