Shafaqna – Associated Press: Critics have mostly ignored the new US spy drama Legends, but it’s creating a furore in Venezuela.
Officials in the South American country are denouncing the show for portraying the socialist government stockpiling nerve gas to quash dissent.
The telecommunications commission opened an investigation on Tuesday into the series over an episode in which a character names president Nicolás Maduro and his socialist PSUV party as the buyer of chemical weapons.
On Monday, the minister of information, Delcy Rodriguez, denounced the script as hostile and “imperialist”.
The show’s producer, Fox 21, apologised and said the show was intended as fiction.
“The producers did not intend to imply that the show was reporting any actual events when it mentioned President Maduro’s name. We sincerely apologise to President Maduro,” the company said in a statement.
In the episode in question, “Lords of War,” the star of the show tortures a terrorist, demanding to know who is buying his chemical weapons. Eventually the terrorist splutters, “Maduro! PSUV! They’re worried about the civil unrest in Venezuela.”
Venezuela was wracked by anti-government street protests this spring, and international observers accused the government of violating human rights in cracking down on the unrest, though never of using chemical weapons.
On Twitter, Rodriguez denounced the “lies and manipulations” presented in the brief scene, which she said was part of a “Hollywood-type script typical in its imperialist actions against legitimate governments”.
Legends, starring Sean Bean as an undercover FBI operative, came on screen last month to tepid reviews.
On Tuesday, government critics were posting the 20-second clip with the heading, “the scene Maduro doesn’t want you to see”.
It’s not the first time Venezuela has tussled with the US entertainment industry.
In 2006, the government led by the late president Hugo Chavez accused a US gaming company of doing Washington’s bidding by releasing a computer game based on the overthrow of an imaginary Venezuelan “tyrant”.
Last year, the US spy drama Homeland portrayed Venezuela as a lawless hellscape. An outlaw character was depicted hiding out in a Caracas skyscraper-turned-slum with thugs who killed people and molested children with impunity. No official repercussions followed.