In a new interview with Slam Radio, British-born hit songwriter and pop star Ed Sheeran said a 2005 episode of South Park “fucking ruined my life.”
That episode, “Ginger Kids,” featured the risque cartoon’s taboo-loving main character Cartman bullying kids who, like Sheeran, had red hair and fair skin. In the show, two other main characters, Stan and Kyle, lead Cartman to believe he has contracted the fake disease “gingervitis.”
South Park, which has run for decades, is known for stirring up controversy.
Sheeran explained: “Having red hair in England was always a thing that people took the piss out of you for, but it was never something in America. People never knew what a ginger was in America.”
Until, he says, South Park released its now-notorious episode.
Sheeran continued: “I was going to America, and everyone was like, ‘I love your hair dude.’ And I was like ‘Oh my God, people like my hair?’ And then I remember that episode coming out and that was just it worldwide for the rest of my life.”
Check out a clip from the episode below.
Sheeran, who burst on the scene as a solo artist in 2011, released his then-debut LP, +, a decade ago. He released his latest LP, =, in 2021.
South Park, which debuted on August 13, 1997, has since aired 23 seasons, with more episodes and movies slated for 2022 and beyond. The show has taken on many subjects in the past that, by today’s standards, seem third-rail topics. But that’s also what has made the show and others like it thrive.
Perhaps the singer and the show will come to an agreement down the line and he will appear on an episode? Or perhaps the damage has been too much.
In other Sheeran news, his 2017 hit single, “Shape of You,” just reached a major milestone: 3 billion streams on Spotify.
“I’ve just heard ‘Shape of You’ has reached three billion streams on Spotify, which is absolutely insane,” said Sheeran on Instagram. “I remember this song hitting a billion and thinking that was weird. It’s the first song to hit three billion streams, and I’m really chuffed with it.”