A Republican Senate candidate from Mississippi once complained during his syndicated radio program that there just aren’t enough Muslim villains in Hollywood.
Chris McDaniel, who is challenging longtime incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran in the GOP primary, hosted the syndicated talk show “Right Side Radio” until his 2007 election to the State Senate, touching on a variety of topics – including the portrayal of Muslims in the movies.
“It’s funny how the movies have portrayed themselves lately and how the video games have portrayed themselves lately,” McDaniel said in a 2006 segment. “There’s one person that cannot be a villain in Hollywood, ever. One group that cannot be villains. Who is that?”
A cohost suggests that Muslims aren’t shown in a negative light in movies, and McDaniel agrees.
“Yeah, isn’t that neat?” McDaniel said. “They’ll go out of their way to find some Russian white guy that’s just nuts, and he’s the terrorist, which I’ve never seen that. But the Muslims, they’ve just disappeared from Hollywood’s radar.”
Continuing his riff, McDaniel suggests that traditionally all-American types are more frequently portrayed as villains.
“I think the true enemy is Ron Howard and Andy Griffith,” he said.
However, as Mother Jones points out in a post about the comments, Islamic extremists have been the villains in three seasons of Fox’s 24, as well as Showtime’s Sleeper Cell, and a number of movies, such as Rules of Engagment, Zero Dark Thirty and True Lies.
This is not new, as the site points out; a 1998 New York Times article addressed the difficulties faced by Arab-American actors finding roles that aren’t villains.
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