(Photo: The History Channel/File)
The casting of the actor chosen to portray Satan in The History Channel's "The Bible" mini-series has sparked debate on social media sites over the weekend, after some suggested the man had a likeness to President Barack Obama. However, both The History Channel as well as "The Bible" mini-series producers, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, have called the suggestions "utter nonsense."
The man portraying Satan on Sunday's third installment of "The Bible" mini-series was in fact an actor called Mohamen Mehdi Ouazani, however, many have commented on how much he looks like President Barack Obama, after Glenn Beck highlighted the similarity on social media site, Twitter, on Saturday.
Beck posted a message stating, "Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?"
Beck, of course a strong critic of Obama, has vowed not to say the president's name throughout 2013, and so has referred to him through the first three months of the year simply as "That Guy."
Many immediately jumped on social media sites to comment, with many strongly agreeing or disagreeing with Beck's suggestion.
The debate has since gone viral, with most mainstream media picking up on the story, and some suggesting that President Obama has reason to feel aggrieved at the casting on the show, which has been produced by British-born Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.
The History Channel meanwhile has dismissed the debate, saying that there was no intention whatsoever in creating any such resemblance with Obama. The statement released by the channel has said, "HISTORY channel has the highest respect for President Obama. 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."
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have also called the suggestions "utter nonsense." In a statement they have said, "This is utter nonsense. 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."
The show has been a massive hit in the United States over the past three weeks, attracting 13.1 million viewers for its previous episode.
Although episode 2 of "The Bible" ended with the scene of King David telling young Solomon that he will build the temple, the third episode skips over the story of Solomon and moves on to the part in Jewish history where the Jewish king is corrupt and the Kingdom of Judah is conquered and its people forced into exile.
The latest episode also moved on to the story of Mary and Joseph, and the birth of Jesus Christ. It also goes on to portray the early years of Jesus' public ministry, with scenes of his baptism by John the Baptist, as well as the evangelism of Peter.
However, one of the most talked about scenes from the episode has of course now become the portrayal of Satan's attempts to tempt Jesus, with the casting of Satan becoming a major discussion point among viewers.
Here is a video news report on "The Bible" mini-series' so-called Obama look-alike: