The creators of South Park have never been afraid to upset celebrities - and many of the show's viewers.
From jokes about religion and homosexuality to four-letter tirades, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have always mixed shock tactics with satire in the hit cartoon series.
But they were accused of hitting a new low last night after lampooning the demise of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin just weeks after his death.
The latest episode shows an animated Irwin in Hell with a stingray poking out of his bleeding chest.
Irwin, 44, died in September after he was impaled by a stingray's barb, while snorkelling near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
The South Park episode called Hell On Earth 2006, which was broadcast in the US this week, shows Satan preparing to host a Hallowe'en fancy dress party.
Hundreds of dead celebrities are invited, including rapper Notorious B.I.G., Princess Diana and Hitler.
But at the party Satan receives complaints from his guests that someone is inappropriately dressed up as Irwin.
Satan confronts Irwin but the Aussie environmentalist protests it is really him, not a guest in a costume.
While characters have been killed off in the series before – spawning the show's catchphrase "Oh my god, they killed Kenny!" – campaigners are particularly incensed about the stingray still being attached to Irwin's bloodstained trademark khaki shirt.
British broadcasting watchdog Mediawatch condemned the episode as "grossly insensitive."
Its director, John Beyer, said: "I think this is in bad taste. Steve Irwin's family are still grieving."
"To lampoon somebody's death like that is unacceptable and so soon after the event is grossly insensitive. It is not what the family would want to see."
South Park maker Comedy Central defended the episode. A spokesman said: "It has offended people in the past and probably will again. Regular watchers would not be shocked."