The producers of History’s The Bible are smiting the controversy that erupted after this Sunday’s episode of the scripted series drew comparisons between its Satan character and United States president Barack Obama.
“This is utter nonsense,” executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey said in a statement. “The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics — including Satanic characters — long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.”
Downey added: “Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.”
Though the freshman series has previously offered glimpses of the Satan character, the sixth episode, titled “Hope” and also offering the first depiction of Jesus, gave viewers a prolonged look at the devil. Glenn Beck was among the first major media personalities to suggest a resemblance, opining via Twitter Sunday night:
A statement from the network itself reads: “History channel has the highest respect for President Obama. The series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It’s unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. The Bible is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”
UPDATE: On Monday afternoon, Beck clarified his position, posting: