home
RSS
March 18th, 2013
01:59 PM ET

Producer: Claim of Obama-Satan likeness nonsense

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – The third episode of the History Channel's miniseries “The Bible” was supposed to be remembered for the brutality of Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar, the strength of Daniel in the lion’s den, and the birth of Jesus Christ.

But after viewers claimed there was a striking resemblance between Satan’s human form and President Barack Obama, that probably won't be the case.

Buzz on Twitter quickly grew. According to Topsy.com on Monday, there were an estimated 20,000 tweets containing the words “Obama” and “Satan” since the 9:00 p.m. ET hour on Sunday, the hour in which Satan appears in the two-hour show.

In a statement, miniseries producer Mark Burnett called claims there was a resemblance "utter nonsense."

Burnett said the actor who played Satan, Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni, "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."

Ouazanni has had roles in two biblical TV movies - "Jeremiah" and "The Ten Commandments."

Executive producer of the miniseries Roma Downey, Burnett's wife, added, "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."

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

Satan appears during the miniseries’ retelling of the Temptation of Christ, when Jesus fasted for 40 days in the Judean Desert. Satan tests Jesus’ faith, asking him to make bread out of stone and jump from a cliff, but he refuses each temptation and returns to the Sea of Galilee to begin his ministry.

In the desert, Satan is draped in a long, black, hooded robe and with a slight silver tint to his face.

Both Downey and Burnett supported Obama's first campaign for president in 2008, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Downey gave $5,000 to the Obama Victory Fund and $2,700 to the Democratic National Committee in 2008. Burnett also donated to Obama's first campaign - $2,300 in 2007.

Neither gave money to Obama's 2012 campaign.

While the show was airing, tweets poured in noting the resemblance.

[tweet https://twitter.com/glennbeck/status/313120671297306624%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/lkspringer/status/313470968448315392%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/DanAmira/status/313491508391182336%5D

Not everyone on Twitter agreed, though.

[tweet https://twitter.com/joshuadubois/status/313489150118608896%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/jbouie/status/313498892148830208%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/scottgrimm1/status/313652372561858560%5D

After three episodes, the show has scored strong ratings. Its first episode drew 13.1 million viewers, ratings that trumped CBS’s “60 Minutes” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The second episode drew 10.8 million viewers.

Ratings for the third installment in the five-week miniseries have not been released.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The project has been a three-and-a-half year process for The History Channel and for Burnett and Downey. Burnett - who is better known as a king of reality television, with “Survivor,” “The Voice” and “The Apprentice” all under his name - told CNN earlier this month that this project was “personal.”

“It was time for an updating, adding fresh visual life to a sacred text,” Burnett said.

Both Downey and Burnett were raised Catholic, Burnett in England and Downey in Ireland. They still regularly attend Mass in Los Angeles. Growing up, both watched the classic biblical films that the Hollywood of yesteryear churned out, like “The Ten Commandments” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”

To film their Bible series, the duo set off for the southern tip of Morocco with a crew of around 400 people.
CNN Belief: Reality TV Goliath takes up Bible miniseries challenge, hopes for better outcome

Burnett and Downey consulted a wide range of pastors and academics, including a major evangelical leader and a Catholic cardinal.

Their advisory panel consisted of many people from varied backgrounds familiar with sharing the stories of the Bible, rather than a who’s who of biblical academics.

Joel Osteen, a popular television preacher and pastor of the 30,000-member Lakewood church in Houston, was among those consulted. Osteen and Burnett are friends and were developing a television series together that went on the back burner during the production of this series. Osteen even took his family to Morocco during some of the filming.

While the History Channel owns the exclusive North American rights to the project, Burnett and Downey own the rights to global distribution and theatrical airings, which are in the works. The project also has a book tie-in, games and apps.

- CNN’s Eric Marrapodi and Eric Weisbrod contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bible

soundoff (2,474 Responses)
  1. Scott

    I suspect if you wanted to cast Satan, go with someone beautiful. Someone who obviously is what everyone wants to be, and about whom any criticism is obviously jealousy. That's the impression I'd expect Satan to make.

    March 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Obama's beautiful? The wrinkly thing in the photo next to him resembles beauty? Damn the whole world done gone crazy!

      March 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      You mean they should've chosen me to play Satan? Good choice!

      March 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • BIG MamaJamma

      I hear someone calling Lindsay Lohan's name right now! You dirty little she-devil you.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • BIGANDBLACK

      yu kiddin rite? leav my boy alone dam he make presidant wat else u want from him? rasist man thats wat u all are

      March 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  2. BIGANDBLACK

    yu all wite crakers think cuz we so alike we not people. well least we not little penis devils

    March 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • BIG MamaJamma

      Sorry I don't read ebonics.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • LIBERAL MAN

      IGNORANT AND EMBARRASSING, NOT ALL NON BLACK PEOPLE ARE SMALL DOWN THERE.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  3. Azazel

    End Religion
    It is child abuse to have children read scripture as anything other than a look into our fictional historically religious past, like studying a dead language.

    keep worshiping us Endy. we want you to be happy. we cant wait until you get down here with us.

    March 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • End Religion

      Austin, I take pride that you're saving my every word in a file somewhere. It fills me with joy to know one day, as you study my words, you may suddenly become rational. BTW, I loved your work in the Denzel Washington movie, Fallen – I've seen it 5-6 times.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • BIG MamaJamma

      @Azazel – Like studying a dead language? Sounds like someone failed Latin. Quoque nocens...

      March 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  4. Cindy

    There are similarities. What we really need to know is what part of his face is makeup and what isn't. If the actor doesn't look like the President, Mark Burnett has some explaining to do. By the way, Burnett is friends with Donald Trump, so it wouldn't surprise me if the actor was made up to look similar to the President. Disgusting! This production was put on and the people working on it don't remember, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Maybe they should sit down and REALLY read the Bible. I'm not watching this program because I think it is greatly exaggerated, and then this happened.

    March 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • End Religion

      Being based on the bible it can't help but be greatly exaggerated. Some might even say total fiction.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  5. Silver

    If he looks like the devil, acts like the devil, talks like the devil, well then, he most likely is the devil! It's pretty obvious to me, they hit the nail right on the head! I guess we'll have to see his golf swing to really tell them apart. Now come on all you Libs, Pile on!! Get to redmeat while it's still Steaming ! Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Those pesky casting directors!

    March 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Cindy

      Remember, some day you will be judged by God and your comments will come up.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Cindy...........................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      March 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Gary Clure

      Yes, obviously this is Satan, because this is the venue Satan would pick to reveal himself. The History Channel.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Cindy, you lie. Why do you lie?

      March 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Cindy

      You said, "Remember, some day you will be judged by God and your comments will come up."
      Your god is nothing more than your imaginary friend. It doesn't really exist outside your fantasy. Your god is just as likely to exist as the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. Do you still believe in them, too?

      March 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Cindy, So you think there is a god making notes of every conversation, thought, tweet, post, etc. of each of 7 billion people for an average of 50 years each? Surely an omnipotent, omniscient being would find something more useful, like curing cancer, ending poverty, ensuring that people don't starve, prevent unwanted pregnancies, etc. etc.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Joel Oldstein??? Are you freakin' kidding me? Can you smell the SNAKE-OIL?

    March 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  7. Scott

    Hah! I see the resemblance! Actually, it looks like Obama after 3 more years of dealing with congress. XD

    March 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  8. End Religion

    Why are my ads all for Depends undergarments?!?

    March 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  9. Robrob

    Random association. Everyone looks like someone.

    March 18, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  10. Aylaw

    LOL, really? People are so quick to take offense and cause issues.

    March 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • BloggingDAWEB

      OBAMA is a good man
      History proves that the DEVIL is of the WHITE RACE , HOw DARE you CLOWNs ?

      March 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Obama's mama was white....HOW DARE YOU!

      March 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • BIG MamaJamma

      @BloggingDAWEB – History proves Satan was white? Where has history proven that Satan is real? Are you getting your 3rd grade history lessons from Rev. Wright?

      March 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Bigot

      i thought satan was a spirit? now he is actually a white man? and he was a serpent like dragon or something. a beast

      we think he will posess an Italian in the end times, but I think you may very well be a bigot with no doubt. Just like Kevobx.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
  11. franklamar

    According to the bible the character playing the devil would look more like Jesus than the one who is playing Jesus !

    March 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • BIG MamaJamma

      That's right! According to Rev. Wright, Louis Farakhan & boyamidumb Jesus was black! So, there's no way that could be Obama! Right?

      March 18, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Did you actually just confuse Jesus and Satan? Oh my God!

      March 18, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  12. Yu Maoma

    If Satan had a son, he would look like Obama.

    March 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Austin

      If your brain doubled you'd still be a half-wit

      March 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • Cindy

      You don't know the first thing about the love of Jesus Christ and his message to the world. You need to read the Bible.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • End Religion

      Austin's reading of the bible is what caused his brain to turn to mush. Why make it worse on him by urging him to read more? It could well leak out his ear if it gets any thinner.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • End Reeligooon

      that is a different austin that wrote that about a brane.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  13. GodFreeNow

    I don't think there is a big distinction between believing there actually is a satan and believing that satan is Obama. When I was a boy, people believed that Ronald Reagan was the anti-christ because if you count the letters in his name, Ronald Wilson Reagan, it equals 666. Whether this looks like Obama or not, nonsense should be labeled as nonsense.

    March 18, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  14. Gary Clure

    No suprise Beck would tweet about this. I thought he was busy "prepping".

    March 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  15. Leah

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=MkdMOauMAys

    March 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  16. boyamidumb

    To some white people all black men look alike

    March 18, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • BIG MamaJamma

      @boyamidumb – yes you are.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  17. Tracy

    Genious.... people will tune in just to see the look-alike and ratings will go even higher. LOL

    March 18, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
  18. BIG MamaJamma

    How is it not Obama?

    March 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Akira

      How IS it Obama? They look nothing alike.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  19. shawbrooke

    They both have brown eyes and lines between the brows. After that, any resemblance gets thin. Skin tone? no. Lips? No. Eyes, no, Satan has bags and an inside eye fold. Forehead? no. Satan has a strong brow ridge. Chin? no. Obama's juts. Cheeks? Satan has hollows.

    Someone wants to make trouble and then media should ignore it.

    March 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Please post the photo, with proof of its authenticity, of satan you are using to compare Obama to.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Akira

      I agree. They look nothing alike.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Akira

      It's the one above, HAA. But it'd be nice to know how the producers came up with this concept.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
  20. Larry L

    These foolish observations make me like religion even less... if that's possible.

    March 18, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • shawbrooke

      Whatever your take on religion, look at the pictures, There is nothing here to feed your preconceived dislike.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Akira

      And there is no resemblance between the two, either, shawbrooke...except in those who are trying too hard to see one.

      March 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • Chuck

      Funny you mention the word Fool, it is from the bible

      March 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.