The History Channel and the producers of the hit miniseries The Bible are defending the portrayal of Satan in the drama, calling the controversy regarding the actor's resemblance to President Barack Obama "utter nonsense." Many viewers have commented online about the actor's resemblance to the president.
In a statement to ABC News, the History Channel said it "has the highest respect for President Obama." The statement continued, "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 Producer Mark Burnett added his own two cents, calling the controversy "utter nonsense." Burnett declared, "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."
Actress Roma Downey, who is Burnett's wife and also an executive producer, released a statement saying that both her and Burnett share "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."
The 10-part miniseries premiered to 13.1 million total viewers. It will continue airing on The History Channel every Sunday night until Easter Sunday, March 31.