I have been a fan of Showtime's Homeland since season one and the last episode (SO5E02) was no exception. Main character Carrie Mathison was shown assuring security on a Syrian/Lebanese refugee camp throughout the episode. Shot in Germany, the show-runners and set artists did a great job convincing the audience that the camp was legit. Maybe a bit too much. Three artists hired to add authenticity to the set by doing some writings on the walls seen in the background actually used this occasion to spread hate messages about the show. The messages, in Arabic, seen on screen spell things like : "Homeland is racist." and "Homeland is a joke and it didn't make us laugh.". In a statement released today, the artists explain that they did what they did to spread the word about the obvious propaganda made by the show. You can read their statement for a complete list and explanation of all the elements they claim is propaganda. The group also said that they were told the messages were to be apolitical. Obviously they did not respect this rule.
I personally think protesting for something you consider important is okay as long as it is done peacefully. The thing that amazes me the most in all this is the fact that absolutely nobody working at Showtime saw these messages before air time. This is a show where a good proportion of the characters are Arabic and the action often happens in Arabic countries and yet, nobody on the set could read these messages ? Into all the post-production process i can not believe nobody could understand the writings. The artists also claimed that "The content of what was written on the walls, was of no concern. In their eyes, Arabic script is merely a supplementary visual that completes the horror-fantasy of the Middle East,". I mean, it is hard not to believe they are right about that. I've always took what is shown in the show with a grain of salt. After all, this is a TV show, not a discovery channel documentary. Showtime never claimed that their representation of the middle-east was close to reality, it is fantasy. Still, it seems like this is something they should have seen before air time. I'm starting to think they do not have any Arabic consultant on set, which is a shame. When you make all these efforts and dedicates all this budget to make a believable TV show set in the middle-east, you should at least be sure you are representing this part of the world correctly. I will still watch the show and i`d still recommend it, but i got to admit all this left a bad taste in my mouth.