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."

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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.

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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. meterman

    SURELY YOU JUST!! Dan Merica ,1) That's a Hollywood made up. 2) The real Satan is FRALE WHITE/YELLOW skin and RED EYE's with a BLACK CLOKE ! and smell of suprfull . just Look inside the circle of the cathedral at the catholic church's. You can surely find Satan living inside this churchs

    March 18, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Joseph

      Satan surely voted for Obama........

      March 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Did you give him a ride in yer giant pickup truck with the gun rack in the back winda?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Danger Mouse

      Satan voted for himself and won!

      Congrats, Satan.


      ....stupid Satan.....

      March 19, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  2. Joseph

    Obama is in fact a Muslim prophet. Why else would he be so dedicated to helping his friends and family in the middle east? Obama is behind the Arab spring, and the takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood thoughout the middle east. Bengazhi is a perfect example. He left Americans to die..........traitor

    March 18, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • Billy


      March 18, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
    • Ken

      What's wrong with being dedicated to helping your friends and family, wherever they are?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • Joseph

      I agree Billy, Osama Obama is an idiot.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Joseph, watch out for them black helicopters.

      The biggest danger to our way of life is stupidity like yours.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Billy

      Just to be clear, I was speaking of your idiocy, Joseph –> fvcktard.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      How many Americans died in the Iraq war? I guess bush just left them there to die too.

      March 19, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • Peregrine

      Two questions Joe,
      Do you know the Islamic rules regarding alcohol?
      Do you know there is film of the president drinking beer?

      March 19, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  3. james

    Ah Come on guys–I don't like Obama as I think he is the worst President we have ever had but we don't need to hang the "Devil or Satin" stigma on him. He has enough problems as it is. His children have to live thru all this too and they are a great family but come on, enough is enough–

    March 18, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Wendy

      How does Obama even come close to being worse than W?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @james.......You need to pull your head out your AZZ. The man kept the country out of a depression, SAVED the banking industry, saved the auto industry, Killed bin laden (bush couldn't finish the job) Hey you and the rest of the republicans stay the way you are. You'll lose every election from now on.

      March 19, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • You're a Brainwashed Sheep

      Hey Ken Margo!

      You want to buy some oceanfront property in Arizona?

      March 19, 2013 at 12:37 am |
  4. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Some think Obama is the Anti-Christ.

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill were not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    March 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Rockin' Ronnie

      Mr. Gorbachev.....Tear down this wall.....of TEXT.

      March 19, 2013 at 12:17 am |
  5. U R Killing Me

    Does Satan come from Kenya as well?

    March 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Daniel

      Tim Tebow was sent by God to stop the devil Obama from destroying the USA! Tebow for president! Kick the Marxist out! Send him back toi Kenya with his family........

      March 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Wendy


      Tebow's not a kicker, he's a quarterback, and not one of the top ones either.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • The real Tom

      "Kick the Marxist out! Send him back toi Kenya with his family........"

      Better get to bed, Daniel, honey. The short bus stops at your house early. Nighty-night. Don't forget to put on your pull-ups.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
  6. Brampt

    Im sure this "Bible series" was produced by some Born Again people...They think Obama is the AntiChrist!

    March 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Daniel

      Obamas actions demonstrate that he is the devil......

      March 18, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Brampt

      He is not the Devil. But him and the rest of the worlds governments are owned by the Devil...Didnt he offer the worlds kingdoms to Christ?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Wendy

      She's a Catholic and I think he's Anglican, but they're selling it to born-agains, so there's your answer. They have a Church kit of the series that they're selling now on Christian TV, and the DVD market will be huge. $$$$

      March 18, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  7. hal 9001

    I'm sorry, the "History Channel", but "Satan" and "Christ" are both elements of mythology, therefore your assertions regarding these fictional characters are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

    March 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • U R Killing Me

      What a coincidence, just like your posting.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
  8. MarcusMACV

    I don't know. This would explain the "forged" birth certificate (LOL). When President Ronald Reagan left office in 1989, he bought a new ranch in California. The address was 666 St. Cloud Road. He refused to move into his new home, however, until the address was changed. The address was officially changed to 668 St. Cloud Road, and the Reagans' moved in.

    But I hear at night the numbers "666" Glow ....

    March 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • Daniel

      Marcus, how long have you been collecting welfare checks?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Davide AnDrew

      How long have you had that complex against black people, Daniel?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
  9. Futureman1

    I am a blue eyed white male and I have thought through three episodes that all of the Biblican characters portayed in this series have been strikingly waspish...Moses, Joshua, Daniel, David,..they all look like dudes from Huntington Beach...and listening to all the heavy British accented actors portenting to be pre AD middle easterners is hysterical...I believe the Burnetts are good people but they live in a make believe Christian world where things are literally black and white including it seems Lucifer...!

    March 18, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • Wendy

      Waspish, or African-American as in the case of Samson, his mother and now, Satan. Historically speaking, who actually bought Samson being a black man?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  10. Skeptimist

    Giving Satan an African persona makes no more sense than portraying Jesus as a Scandinavian. I suspect they both actually look kind of Puerto Rican, most of whom look like New Yorkers. And when Santa Claus summers in West Virginia he wears bib overalls and passes for an Appalachian. We can be glad the Pope has a sense of humor.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
  11. Hugo

    Satan is insulted by the comparison!

    March 18, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Don't quit your day-job, Shecky.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • Doggggg

      at least Hugo has job little Tom...........50 million ( and growing) Obama supporters are collecting welfare, and buying drugs with taxpayer $. how is you Obama phone working Tommie? I heard you got 2 of them.......

      March 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Oh, it's YOU again with the idiotic phone nonsense.


      I suspect the one on unemployment assistance here is you.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • Wendy

      Satan should be insulted if he ever wants to keep his reputation for being evil.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
  12. Hugo

    Does Satan look like Obama?

    NO!! It's the other way around!

    March 18, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
  13. I-am-'agin-it

    After everything he has done being Satan would not be a stretch ... the end times are here. Thanks Obama.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  14. Doggggg

    the real progressive Tom, Obama is rapidly turning the USA into Cypress......and you wont get your govt handouts any more.........but you will still worship this devil ! Proof that Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • The real Tom

      You poor little thing.

      Guess I hit a nerve. Woke up herbie and everything!

      March 18, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • Doggggg

      Now we need a comparison for vacation loving Mooochelle. What about the Roman pigs that lavished themselves with the peoples $ while the serfs labored ?

      March 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Do you hate all people of color?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  15. The real Tom

    I'm a big loser. Ignore everything that I write.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • clarity

      cowardly name-stealer; how original.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • MontanaTrace

      Isn't it past your bedtime? Remember, this is a school night.

      March 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Why? Are you lonesome?

      March 18, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  16. Jim

    CNN, Democratic media attacking all traces of Christianity, thinking they are attacking the Republican party.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • If he/she walks and talks like Christ, then he/she is a Christian.

      Love your neighbor as yourself.

      Love your enemy.

      Forgive 70×7 times.

      Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • If he/she walks and talks like Christ, then he/she is a Christian.

      Do not judge.

      Don't let the sun go down on your anger.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  17. Dan

    CNN, so you want us to discuss if Obama looks like a character in a movie that is based on a fictional book? Is that what you call news?

    March 18, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  18. MontanaTrace

    Obama wants to be part of Hollywood. Typecasting has made one of his dreams come true.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • The real Tom

      I heard there were people as stupid as you. I thought it was a myth, like Bigfoot.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
  19. Seyedibar

    Does Satan look like Obama?
    That's actually a very easy question to answer since Obama is actually real (I've seen him), and Satan is a fictional character in a book. So the answer is no.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
  20. Dana

    At least the devil never forced a health care tax on us.

    March 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Bitter much?

      March 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      ... or free schooling or state parks.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • ?

      National Romneycare.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • The real Tom

      Bet Satan never got FEMA to help you move your trailer off your car, either, Dana.

      March 18, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
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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.