The History channel is playing defense after the Internet erupted in speculation about why the actor who plays Satan in History’s miniseries “The Bible” looks a lot like President Obama.
The cable channel released a number of statements in response to the frenzy. “History channel has the highest respect for President Obama,” a statement from the channel said. "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."
Satan is played in the production by Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni.
“A number of Twitter users noticed the similarity between Ouazanni and Obama on Sunday,” The Huffington Post reported. “Among them was Glenn Beck, who first tweeted that the series was ‘one of the most important shows in decades,’ then posted a screenshot of Ouazanni and asked if others thought he looked like ‘That Guy,’ Beck’s preferred term for Obama.”
The report notes that Ouazanni has appeared in a number of biblical productions, including "The Ten Commandments" and "David."
A statement from executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey says: “This is utter nonsense. The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani [sic], 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.”
Downey 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.”
Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni in “The Bible”