Playing devil’s advocate
The History Channel’s “The Bible” is one of the hottest mini-series on TV and it has sparked a controversy that stems from one of “The Bible”‘s actors resembling President Barack Obama. It comes as no surprise when you find who is behind the curtains. Mark Burnett, the creator of “Survivor,” has the Midas touch because almost every show he touches turns to gold — with the glaring exception of Sarah Palin’s short run at a reality show, of course.
In order to have even caused this stir, it had to have been watched by many. The History Channel is reveling in the amount of ratings the series has garnered. On the night it premiered, Entertainment Weekly reports the series got up to 1.3 million viewers. Not bad, considering the negative reviews it received from TV critics.
Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni plays the role of Satan, and his striking similarities with Obama caused quite a buzz. However, the resemblance is much ado about nothing. Yes, they do look similar at a certain angle and light, but it is more of coincidence than a commentary on the nation’s president.
For one, Burnett is supportive of Obama. Campaignmoney.com, a site that allows you to search political contributions, shows he has consistently donated money to Democrats since 2001. Specifically, the site reports that he donated to Obama’s election campaign in 2008.
“It looks like a very old Obama. Like it could be from ‘Star Wars,’” said chemistry senior Irma Salinas. “I think it’s just a coincidence.”
According to The Huffington Post, Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, released a statement to address the issue.
“This is utter nonsense. The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzanni, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor,” Burnett said. “He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics — including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our president.”
Downey took offense with the comparisons, accusing them of taking away from the show.
“Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our president, who is a fellow Christian,” Downey said. “False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible.”
The History Channel also released the following statement:
“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. History’s ‘The Bible’ is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history.”
According to his IMDB profile, Ouazanni has indeed played various roles in other faith-based movies. Burnett and Downey cast the series with diverse and multinational actors. Ouazanni’s resemblance to the president says more about our nation’s rich culture and melting pot than the producers trying to portray Obama in a bad light.
Alex Caballero is a creative writing senior and may be reached at [email protected]