Artists who made "racist" graffiti on "Homeland" seek changes

Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:29pm EDT
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By Tina Bellon and Mostafa Salem

BERLIN/CAIRO (Reuters) - The artists who produced Arabic graffiti seen in the latest episode of the TV series "Homeland," which accuses the show of racism, said on Friday they were surprised at the impact of their protest but hoped it would get the producers to change their scripts.

The hit show is about U.S. intelligence efforts to thwart Middle East terrorism. In the episode aired in the United States last week, CIA agent Carrie Mathison walks through a Syrian refugee camp and past a wall daubed with graffiti - one of which declares, in Arabic: "Homeland is racist".

Other scenes had walls covered with similarly pointed Arabic messages: "There is no Homeland", "Homeland is not a show" and "Black lives matter".

"It was a way to start a discussion," Heba Amin, one of the artists responsible, told Reuters in Cairo. "You know, we were hoping that once this aired that somebody would pay attention to it, and we never anticipated that it would be so massive.

The sabotage of the set has become a worldwide story, picked up by major newspapers and media outlets across the globe.

"This is exactly, for us, what we wanted," Amin said. "This is a huge success, and now we can have that discussion and people are talking about it."

The graffiti were planted by a trio of artists calling themselves the "Arabian Street Artists". They were hired to make walls on the outskirts of Berlin, where the show as filmed this summer, look like part of Lebanon. Nobody detected the meaning before the show aired on the Showtime network last Sunday.

Alex Gansa, co-creator of "Homeland", said in a statement distributed by Showtime: "We wish we'd caught these images before they made it to air."   Continued...

Cast member Claire Danes gestures next to co-star Damian Lewis at a panel for the television series "Homeland" during the Showtime portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 29, 2013.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni