“The Bible” has been an incredibly successful miniseries for the History channel, so it’s no wonder viewers took to the internet after noticing that the actor cast in the role of Satan looks quite a bit like President Barack Obama.
Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni plays the role of the fallen angel.
After actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni’s first appearance as Satan in “The Bible” aired on Sunday, a number of viewers took to Twitter to say that he bears a resemblance to President Barack Obama.
Ouazanni has appeared in several other biblically-themed productions, including the TV movies “The Ten Commandments,” “In the Beginning” and “David.”
One person who took notice was conservative commentator Glenn Beck, who tweeted on Thursday, “The bible on the history channel Sunday. Best episode yet. Don’t miss it. Does satan look EXACTLY like Obama? Y e s!”
However, the producers of the cable TV miniseries on the Bible say Internet chatter that their Satan character resembles President Barack Obama is “utter nonsense.”
The History channel and executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have responded to news reports picking up on the similarity between the actor and Obama.
“History channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” a statement from the History channel read.
“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.”
“This is utter nonsense,” Burnett said.
“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.”
“Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our President, who is a fellow Christian,” Downey added.
“False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.”
Glenn Beck has actually been a big supporter of “The Bible.” The same tweet that pointed out the actor’s resemblance to Obama urged his followers: “Don’t miss it.”
He said the observation was “funny, nothing more” and that the series “is 1 of my fav shows. Keep watching.”
“The Bible” has come under fire for other reasons, as well. A number of Biblical scholars have noticed that the show seems to be “Europeanizing” characters in the story.
In particular, it seems as though characters with positive roles are being cast as white, while roles of characters engaging in evil are more likely to be filled by actors with darker skin, writes the Huff Post.
“The Bible,” created by reality show producer Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “The Voice”) and his wife, actress Roma Downey, drew 13.1 million viewers when it premiered earlier this month, making it cable’s most-watched entertainment telecast of 2013. The 10-hour miniseries concludes on Easter Sunday, says CBS News.
The five-part miniseries has been a big hit for History, reaching more than 13 million viewers for its first episode.