After getting flack for casting choices in The Bible, History has come out in defense of what many are calling a similarity between the actor who plays Satan and the president of the United States.
The network released a joint statement with executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey on Monday morning, shortly after the devil sparked President Obama comparisons with his first appearance in the highly-rated miniseries.
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“History channel has the highest respect for President Obama," read the network statement. "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.”
Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni plays Satan in History’s The Bible, and his resemblance to Obama was first pointed out on Twitter by Glenn Beck ahead the of the episode’s premiere.
“This is utter nonsense," said Burnett and Downey. 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."
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As the two pointed out, this is not Ouazanni’s first religious outing. His past telepics include David (1997), Jeremiah (1998), In the Beginning and The Ten Commandments (2006).
Downey, who also plays the Virgin Mary in The Bible, added that they are, in fact, fond of the president.
"Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian," said Downey. "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 Bible continues on History, airing Sundays at 9 p.m., through Easter.