Homeland, the popular Showtime espionage series that returned for its fifth season recently found itself in a web of deceit after airing the second episode of the season.
The show is no stranger to controversial real-life issues like drone warfare, the Iraq War, Pakistan, the hunt for Osama (Abu Nazir for them) and the Israel Palestine conflict. For its fifth season, in which the show will tackle ISIS, Snowden and Syria, the producers hired graffiti artists to create new artwork to be used in the show. The scene in question featured the main protagonist Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, walking around a Syrian refugee camp that required pro-Assad messages to be drawn on the walls. Or at least, that was the plan.
But the folks they hired had an agenda of their own, because in an act that can only be admired for its gall, the artists in question - Heba Amin, Caram Kapp, and Stone - instead of simply following orders and creating pro-Assad graffiti, used the show’s popularity against itself and made the slogans staunchly anti-Homeland. The artists called out the show on its questionable depiction of the Arab world and did it not once, not twice, but around ten times. And unbelievably, no one noticed and it made it into the final episode. The artists released a statement justifying their actions that can be read here.
“The series has garnered the reputation of being the most bigoted show on television for its inaccurate, undifferentiated and highly biased depiction of Arabs, Pakistanis, and Afghans, as well as its gross misrepresentations of the cities of Beirut, Islamabad- and the so-called Muslim world in general,” they protested.
Homeland is currently averaging around 2 million viewers per episode so this act of defiance is hardly something to take lightly. But the show’s creator Alex Gansa had a rather curious response: “We wish we’d caught these images before they made it to air. However, as Homeland always strives to be subversive in its own right and a stimulus for conversation, we can’t help but admire this act of artistic sabotage,” he told Deadline.
Well, why not have that conversation then instead of tactfully deflecting it?
All images courtesy the artists.
Here is the rest of the graffiti