Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and History Channel fired back at social media users Monday morning who postulated that the actor who portrays Satan in miniseries “The Bible” looks like President Obama, calling the claims “utter nonsense.”
Conservative media personality Glenn Beck helped launch some of the Internet speculation, tweeting out last night a photo of Mehdi Ouzaani, the thesp cast as Satan:
Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on HIstory Channel looks exactly like That Guy? pic.twitter.com/nTpYRQ522p
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) March 17, 2013
The tweet quickly accumulated over 600 retweets and hundreds of favorites. By this morning, “Satan” and “ObamaSatan” were trending on Twitter, with numerous media outlets covering the physical similarities between the President and the “Bible” character.
History Channel issued a statement Monday morning: “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.”
Burnett, who exec produces the mini with wife Downey, stated: “This is utter nonsense. 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 also weighed in: “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.”
Beck later backtracked on his initial tweet, clarifying it as a merely “funny” observation.
Media – relax. Actor has been in similar roles b4. Funny, nothing more. For different reasons, #TheBible is 1 of my fav shows. Keep watching
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) March 18, 2013