The producers of the cable TV miniseries on the Bible say Internet chatter that their Satan character resembles President Barack Obama is "utter nonsense."
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey said Monday the Moroccan actor who played Satan in the History channel series, Mehdi Ouzaani, has played Satanic characters in other Biblical programs long before Obama was elected president.
The connection got widespread attention after talk show host Glenn Beck last week tweeted: "Does Satan look EXACTLY like Obama? Yes!"
History said in a statement that the network has "the highest respect" for Obama, and that "it's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection."
"Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love our president, who is a fellow Christian," said Downey, the "Touched By an Angel" actress who is married to Burnett. "False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible."
Beck has actually been a big supporter of "The Bible." The same tweet that pointed out the actor's resemblance to Obama urged his followers: "Don't miss it."
On Monday, Beck tweeted "Media - relax."
He said the observation was "funny, nothing more" and that the series "is 1 of my fav shows. Keep watching."
The five-part miniseries has been a big hit for History, reaching more than 13 million viewers for its first episode.