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Posted at 07:12 PM ET, 03/18/2013

Producers say ‘utter nonsense’ when viewers think Satan actor in ‘The Bible’ looks like Obama


Actor Mehdi Ouazanni on "The Bible" (CBS.com via History)
“Awkward” may best describe President Obama’s Women’s History Month reception Monday at the White House, what with the guest list including an exec producer and a corporate suit behind the miniseries “The Bible.” The previous night, “The Bible” gave viewers their first good look at Satan — who bore a more than passing resemblance to Obama, according to some viewers.

History channel spent a good-ish chunk of Monday defending the makeup job done on Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazanni that left him looking a lot like our 44rd president in some people’s eyes.

“Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?” Glenn Beck — an early adopter — tweeted over the weekend.

(Interestingly, hours later, Beck chastised himself for making the comparison, saying: “Media — relax. Actor has been in similar roles b4. Funny, nothing more.” He added: “For different reasons, #TheBible is 1 of my fav shows. Keep watching.”)

On Monday evening, the hashtag #ObamaIsNotSatan was trending worldwide on Twitter.

“They do look alike, you got to admit that,” CNN newsman Wolf Blitzer said Monday afternoon on “The Situation Room.”

Horseradish, said History:

“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.”

“Utter nonsense,” added “The Bible” exec producers Mark Burnett and Downey:

“The actor who played Satan. . .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 went on to note that she and Burnett “have nothing but respect and love” for Obama, noting that he’s “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,” she concluded sternly.

During Monday’s late afternoon Women’s History Month reception in the East Room of the White House, Obama wisely made no reference to his more than passing resemblance to History’s made-for-TV Satan; he did, however, give a shout-out to Abbe Raven, who is CEO of History’s parent company A&E Networks.

It’s not the first time a president’s mug has turned up on a TV show — and not in a good way.

In summer of ’12, HBO apologized for commentary on its “Game of Thrones” first-season DVD, in which one of the program’s exec producers noted that one decapitated head on a stick, in a couple scenes, is that of ex-POTUS George W. Bush.

“The last head on the left is George Bush,” one of the show-runners for the popular, and sometimes gruesome, fantasy-drama series is heard saying during the Episode 10 commentary — one of the extra features offered in the first-season release. What appears to be Bush’s head is seen in profile, mostly masked by a scraggly brown wig.

“George Bush’s head appears in a couple beheading scenes,” the show-runner said. “It’s not a choice; it’s not a political statement. It’s just, we had to use what heads we had around.”

“We were deeply dismayed to see this, and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste,” a mortified HBO said in a statement, after being alerted to the DVD commentary, which was first noticed by the Web site Reddit.

The premium cable network halted shipments of the DVDs, removed the scene from its digital platforms and edited out the head for future telecasts.

By  |  07:12 PM ET, 03/18/2013

 
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