The History Channel and television producer Mark Burnett have come out in defense of their casting choices in "The Bible."
For those who caught this Sunday's broadcast and thought Satan bears a striking resemblance to a certain president, they are in good company.
A debate is raging on social media over whether the Satan character on the History Channel's popular new miniseries looks like President Barack Obama.
Conservative personality Glenn Beck was among the first to mention it on Twitter, but others have chimed in, either to agree or disagree.
The role of Satan is played by Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni. The show is created by reality TV producer Mark Burnett, who is known for shows like "Survivor," "Celebrity Apprentice," and "The Voice." The show is executive produced by the actress Roma Downey, Burnett's wife.
"This is utter nonsense," Burnett and Downey said in a joint statement with the History Channel issued in the wake of the social media brouhaha. "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."
"Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love for our President, who is a fellow Christian," added Downey. "False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible."
“History channel has the highest respect for President Obama," read the statement from the network. "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.”
Earlier this month, Burnett talked about the "weird things" that happened during fillming, like unexplainable gusts of wind and a missing piece of costume that showed up four days later when a child several miles away returned it to the set.