It was a prop. But it looked like the former president.
Here's what happened: Show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said that they used a fake decapitated head when Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) shows Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) a row of traitors' heads on pikes.
"People may not have noticed this but back up ... the last head on the left is George Bush," the creators say in a DVD commentary for Season 1. "George Bush's head appears in a couple of beheading scenes."
Craig Eaton, chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party, says he is disgusted by the move. "Whether you like him or dislike him, whether you're of the same political persuasion or not, we still have to respect the office of the presidency and all of those who hold that presidency," Eaton said, calling for it to be removed, and for a boycott of the show, reports E!.
Now Benioff and Weiss have issued a statement explaining that it was just a case of bargain prop buying. They "can't afford" to have props made from scratch, 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."
In its own statement, HBO says, "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." The cable channel said it will have the scene removed from any future DVD production.