Fox issued an apology Wednesday after a poll on National Geographic’s Facebook page asking Latin American followers whom they thought was responsible for Jesus’ death sparked outrage.
The poll was intended to promote a National Geographic Christmas special, but the Simon Wiesenthal Center – a global Jewish rights group – took exception to the provocative poll.
In Spanish, the Facebook post read: “Christmas’ Special is coming to Nat Geo… Who do you think is responsible for the death of Jesus?” The three choices for polltakers were: “Pontius Pilate,” “The Jewish People” and “the High Priests.”
A statement from the center suggested the poll was tendentious and created only to stir controversy.
“This calumny, which resulted in persecution and murder of Jews for two millennia, was annulled by the Vatican in 1965,” Dr. Shimon Samuels, the center’s director of International Relations, said in the statement.
“We expect that a major media corporation – Fox International Channels – would withdraw this defamatory ad, and promptly replace it with one in the spirit of the Vatican’s mea culpa.”
The 1965 declaration issued by the Second Vatican Council said, among other things, that Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus and should not be persecuted by the Christian community.
Fox removed the poll following the complaint and sent an apology to the Wiesenthal Center.
“On behalf of National Geographic Channel in Latin America we sincerely apologize for the publication of a poll that might have unintentionally given place to interpretations, opinions or expressions of intolerance affecting the Jewish community,” the statement read.
“This would contradict the mission and spirit of National Geographic worldwide, which focuses on education for diversity through shows questioning our world.”
Fox did not release the results of the poll, but a screen capture indicates that the majority of those asked blamed the Jewish people.