Entertainment behind the scenes
Hollywood and religion. Double standards, or fair game for satire?
Should all religions be taboo when it comes to comedy and satire?
Comedy Central — the same TV network that managed to both anger and bow to Muslim sensibilities in April by airing and later censoring a “South Park” episode portraying the Prophet Mohammad — is now at the center of a pre-emptive storm over plans to develop a comedy show about Jesus.
A new coalition of family and religious groups Citizens Against Religious Bigotry has called on Comedy Central not to air the animated series “JC” and asked advertisers to refuse to sponsor it.
The show, billed as being about Jesus trying to live as a regular guy in New York City, is still in the development stage, is not on the air yet, and has not yet been given a green light by the network.
Still, Parents Television Council president Tim Winters called the series offensive, labeled Comedy Central as bigoted and said he was fed up of Hollywood “using the notion of being offensive to everyone as cover” for its comedy targets.
“Comedy Central has consistently demonstrated behavior that is shockingly anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, and patently offensive to African Americans, Hispanic Americans and many others,” Winters said on Thursday, adding that he was happy to join the new coalition. Its other members include the Media Research Center, Family Research Council, talk radio host Michael Medved, the Catholic League and the American Alliance of Jews and Christians.
“The advertising community needs to open its eyes to the fact that they are the ultimate consumer when it comes to television. They hold the checkbooks and they have the power to push back when program content conflicts with the values of their customers,” Winters said.
The coalition accused Comedy Central of double standards, claiming that “while Islam and other faiths are treated carefully and respectfully by the media and Hollywood elite, the Judeo-Christian heritage is open for mockery and ridicule.”
Given the outcry from a radical Islamic group in April over the “South Park” episode and Hollywood’s numerous movie and TV depictions of Middle Eastern-looking actors in bad guy roles, Muslims might disagree with the notion that their faith is treated with respect by the U.S. media.