Homeland Racist Season 5

'Homeland Is Racist' Message Sneaks Into Season 5 Episode; EP Responds

Three street artists employed by Homeland to populate scenery with apolitical graffiti sneaked in their own commentary on the oft-controversial series — including the statement that “Homeland is racist” (pictured).

Heba Amin, Caram Kapp and a third artist named Stone answered a solicitation from the Showtime drama for “‘Arabian street artists’ to lend graffiti authenticity to a film set of a Syrian refugee camp on the Lebanese/Syrian border” (as featured in Season 5’s Oct. 11 episode), the trio shared online in a detailing of their “hack.”

The artists said Homeland’s set designers were “too frantic to pay any attention to us” as they painted on walls, among other things, “Homeland is NOT a series,” “Homeland is watermelon” (meaning: nonsense) and even “#blacklivesmatter.” Instead, on-set supervisors were busy fixating on the fraying of curtains and accuracy of plastic clothespins, the trio blogged. “In their eyes, Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East, a poster image dehumanizing an entire region to human-less figures in black burkas and moreover, this season, to refugees.”

Amin, Kapp and Stone said that Homeland deserved to be taken to task for what they describe as an ongoing “inaccurate, undifferentiated and highly biased depiction of Arabs, Pakistanis, and Afghans, as well as its gross misrepresentations of the cities of Beirut, Islamabad — and the so-called Muslim world in general,” adding: “Homeland has maintained the dichotomy of the photogenic, mainly white, mostly American protector versus the evil and backwards Muslim threat.”

“Granted, the show gets high praise from the American audience for its criticism of American government ethics,” the artists allowed, “but not without dangerously feeding into the racism of the hysterical moment we find ourselves in today.”

In response to the stealthy commentary, Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa said in a statement to our sister site Deadline, “We wish we’d caught these images before they made it to air. However, as Homeland always strives to be subversive in its own right and a stimulus for conversation, we can’t help but admire this act of artistic sabotage.”

What do you think of the artists’ crafty commentary?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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47 Comments
  1. ClearlyDemented says:

    I find that this show has shown relatable and sympathetic characters as well as villains in both the Middle Eastern and American camps. But then again, I’ve never been to any of those cities to compare.

    • Ben says:

      I agree. From (obviously) a white person’s perspective, because that is all I can bring, it has felt to me like the show is shining a spotlight on racism against Arabs that is inherent in American culture, and creating a better tolerance.

    • Lizo says:

      But if the people whose culture it’s supposed to reflect says its racist or offensive, then it is. Because we have no understanding of it, we have to trust their voices and experiences.

      • No, that’s not how it works. If I weigh 800 lbs. it is not inaccurate to say I’m fat. You could call it “fat shaming” or whatever the PC term is today, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

        There is an uptick of violence over the last few years throughout the entire region. There is an absurd amount of chaos in the name of religion in the entire region. That’s not racist, it’s proven factual happenings. Just because they don’t like the accusation doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

      • Lucifer says:

        “Listen and believe.” – Lizo

  2. Okay Dude says:

    Regardless of whether that claim has any substance, that was trolling of the highest order. Hilarious and artful

  3. David4 says:

    ZZZZZzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzzz

    Oh sorry crazy people are speaking? I’ll go back to picking my nose.

  4. Dome from on high says:

    It seems to me that the people of that region themselves are doing a bang-up job of “de-humanizing an entire region”

  5. B says:

    personally I find this highly inappropriate and unprofessional. The artists were hired to do a job not use the show as their own private soapbox. And their justification is basically this happened because they weren’t baby sat on set?! While I’m sure if they were baby sat they would have something to complain about as well

    • Eva says:

      Their justification is that their language, one of the most important parts of anyone’s identity, was treated as background ornament, and not a carrier of meaning. Which it can and does carry, as they proved. If they weren’t even told WHAT message to include, what to write, they just wrote whatever the heck they wanted. They did their job.
      Treating a language they way the set designers it is, to me, almost equivalent to having two Arabian guys in the background talk to each other with made up words that just sound Arabic, because who cares what they’re saying? Well, people whose language is disrespected do.

      • B says:

        considering they were hired for street art and graffiti not for any specific phrases that point is moot. They were given artistic freedom but instead chose to behave immaturely almost goading the set designers for actually trusting them to do their job

      • Becky says:

        Your argument makes no sense to me. Graffiti in the background is common on almost any urban outdoor setting in TV/movies, in particular suspenseful dramas. English, Spanish, Arabic, et al. It’s always a background ornament and part of set design. That’s sorry of them to require constant supervision to do their work properly.

      • Lucifer says:

        It was graffiti to make the scenes more authentic. They were not signs, they were not words in books the characters would be reading over. The crew could have just put a bunch of random scribbles or left it bare and called it a day. But they wanted to give an authentic feel and went out of their way to hire Arabic-speaking artists. I hope no professional western company hires those children again.

      • Tom says:

        you seriously are using you disrespected my language defense, it could not be more laughable, and not one single muslim has ever made fun of an american, don’t see me getting all bent out of shape, it’s a tv show!

  6. obriensg1 says:

    Background isn’t supposed to make sense! I know an actor that told me in an early background role, they didn’t hold conversations. They were told to alternate the tone while repeating “rhubard”.

  7. Drew says:

    If you’re hired to do a job, it is assumed that you can do it without someone babysitting you. Otherwise, why would they hire someone else? Yes, they were worried about the curtains and whatever else, because that was their job.
    These people are idiots, not artists. They’re rebelling for the sake of rebelling and their words have no meaning. They’re foolish.
    I don’t even watch the show, but I’ve worked on enough sets to know that nothing they described here is offensive. They simply lack a basic understanding of how TV shows are made.

  8. Sam says:

    Seems ironic since they were fine accepting a job at such a ‘racist’ show in the first place

    • Paul says:

      I doubt it will be a problem in the future. There, or anywhere else. :)

    • B says:

      And good thing the evil racist American TV show allowed them the freedom to write it, and even light kudos for pulling it off. Some of the Middle-Eastern countries would behead them for writing such things or making these comments afterwards.

  9. abby says:

    classy response from the showrunners.

  10. Andrew says:

    Considering the show’s subject matter, it is kind of embarrassing how this stunt seems to show that Homeland doesn’t have anyone who actually speaks Arabic employed, at least not in any position that might have been able to catch this.

  11. HomelandSux says:

    “we can’t help but admire this act of artistic sabotage”. Seriously? WTF! The shows production team admires racism in their show? WTF?

  12. Claire says:

    Great response by the showrunner – and I have a lot of admiration for the artists as well. I’ve loved watching Homeland, it’s a thrilling drama and I continue to watch and enjoy, but I must confess that the repeated negative images of the Muslim world has definitely affected me on a subconscious level – the imagery is just so strong. But Homeland is just part of the wider Western media’s negative portrayal of Muslims and the Middle East. It’s pretty insidious and I very much admire these artists for tackling the subject from the inside!

    • Lucifer says:

      Perhaps the Muslim world should fix the extremely negative images it creates in those regions all on its own first? Nah, it’s apparently just all created by people in the west who are racist and xenophobic……

    • Tom says:

      Explain How Homeland Has Been Negative Towards Muslims. Actual Examples Of Moments When Homeland Was Racist. Not Just A Vague Explanation…

  13. Personally, I think Homeland has been generous in its treatment of Muslim characters and culture. Look up Islamabad slums in Google images. What they actually showed on Homeland is a Holiday Inn by comparison. Maybe they should help build schools and work towards peaceful relations instead of wishing us dead on a regular basis because we eat bacon and “allow” our women to not cover their hair, drive cars and be lesbians.

  14. Tom says:

    It’s a TV Show, it’s not so suppose to be taken literally, it’s not suppose to be accurate. I think these people where simply trying to get their names out there, but hey used the wrong platform to do so, I’ve never seen anything remotely racist on this show, I think what they did is betray a trust they had with the production company and they should be ashamed.

  15. liame says:

    I think those artist are WATERMELON! That was too easy.

  16. Charissa29 says:

    Bravo Alex Gansa! Great response!

  17. Lizo says:

    That’s badass. Good for them. It’s like how Indians/First Nations were cast in movies and told to speak their language. So what they did was have conversations about how racist the movie is. And they remain as part of the film

    • Sewbie says:

      Ack! I commented on the same thing. I should have just replied here that I agree!

    • Lucifer says:

      It’s really not. It’s like some social justice authoritarians who “listen and believe” and get ridiculously offended over everything, even harsh realities, deciding to be bratty children when hired for a job.

  18. Mr. Tran K says:

    Controversy continues to blow up in the face of Homeland. Hope the series should end after seven seasons.

  19. Daryl says:

    Peter Quinn’s assessment of the Muslim stranglehold on the Middle East in his debriefing in the S5 premiere was more honest and accurate than anything the government has dared to say.

    Let the artists tag that.

  20. Sewbie says:

    This reminds me of a situation that happened a while back when a movie was being made with Native Americans told to speak in their native language. They were barely paid attention to, and told to say whatever line it was, which was going to have English subtitles in the movie. The actor involved instead said insulting things about the people involved making the film, as the Native Americans involved were being treated like novelties. No one even bothered to look into what was being said. It was like they thought all Native dialects were the same- some random gibberish that you don’t need to pay attention to, because of a “sounds Native to me” mentality.
    I feel like this is a pretty similar situation. These fellows may have been hired to make the set authentic – but this is a real language that real people speak. It’s not just decoration.
    I think if the show runners cared more about being authentic instead of seeming authentic, this wouldn’t have happened.

    • Lucifer says:

      There’s a big difference between extras that have lines which are subtitled and graffiti featured on walls in the background that are barely visible in many scenes. Also, the claims that Homeland is racist or xenophobic come directly from the easily offended because even portraying things half as bad as they really are in that region is “offensive.” So these slacktivists were just proving how irrational and unprofessional they are.

  21. BrianR says:

    Muslim isn’t a race. PERIOD.

  22. jj says:

    i mean for the first 3 seasons the terrorist was a white US marine…. these ‘anarchists’ fail to give any specific examples from the show and instead insist that their vague criticisms are irrefutable. I agree with other commenters they came in expecting special treatment and when they didn’t get they became petulant

  23. Elaine says:

    If they felt the show was racist against their culture why did they accept the job? Cut it out, they are just upset they didn’t get their own dressing room…