The History Channel on Monday denied that the resemblance between President Obama and an actor playing Satan in the channel's miniseries “The Bible” was intentional.
The statement from the cable network came after a storm of commentary on Twitter and other social media on how the hooded Satan looked like the president.
“HISTORY channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” the network said in a press release. "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.”
Executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey blasted the controversy as “utter nonsense” in the same release, which noted that actor Mehdi Ouzaani had played Satan before Obama was elected.
“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,” the pair said.
The show, a surprise ratings hit, has been the subject of heavy analysis on social media, with many commentators pointing out the likeness between the president and the actor depicting the devil. Radio host Glenn Beck noted the comparison in a tweet on Saturday — although he later wrote that the media should "relax" and that the resemblance was "funny, nothing more."
Downey said those highlighting the comparison were simply attempting to distract from the miniseries' message.
“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,” she said.