.- A lewd picture on âThe Daily Showâ that placed a Nativity scene manger ornament between a naked woman's spread legs provoked heavy criticism and the threat of a boycott from Catholics.
âWhat Jon Stewart did ranks with the most vulgar expression of hate speech ever aired on television. His incivility cannot go unanswered,â Catholic League President Bill Donohue said on April 19, calling for a boycott of the show's sponsors.
On the April 16 episode of the Comedy Central cable channelâs satirical newscast âThe Daily Show,â host Jon Stewart criticized Fox News commentatorsâ and reportersâ treatment of the âwar on womenâ political catchphrase. He juxtaposed their comments with other Fox News coverage, including the many past âwar on Christmasâ controversies about the role of the holiday in public life.
After showing a clip of Fox News commentator Steve Doocy objecting to an elementary school that barred poinsettias on the grounds they might offend non-Christians, Stewart said:
âWhat can women do to generate the same sense of outrage from Fox as the removal of decorative slightly poisonous holiday plants? Perhaps they could play into the theme? Maybe women could protect their reproductive organs from unwanted medical intrusions with vagina mangers.â
The show then displayed an image of a naked woman on a table. Covering her genitals was a manger with the Christ child.
âI âI had not seen that picture,â Stewart said, laughing. âThat really could be anything.â
Donohue observed in an initial statement Wednesday that although the segment was done âto protest Foxâs alleged indifference to the 'war on women,'â it ultimately made not only âa vulgar attack on Christiansâ but served to objectify women.
The Catholic League president also criticized what he said was a media âcover-upâ of the offensive scene. âThe Daily Showâ episode drew news coverage from outlets like Reuters, the Chicago Tribune, MSNBC.com, Yahoo! Movies, the Los Angeles Times blogs, Gawker, Huffington Post, and others, but these outlets did not report the scene involving the manger.
Media Research Center head L. Brent Bozell called the show a âgrotesque stuntâ that displayed a Nativity scene âin a vulgar manner.â
He questioned whether Stewart would be âequally braveâ to offend Muslims and Jews and dared Stewart to do something similarly offensive to them, CNSNews.com reported.
Donohue said that Stewart has refused to apologize for the incident, which Donohue deemed an âunprecedented assault on Christian sensibilities.â
The Catholic League has launched an effort to receive an apology from Stewart and is asking the regular sponsors of âThe Daily Showâ to pull their advertising and threatening a boycott of their products
The organization is contacting Kraft Foods, Inc., whose product MiO Energy was among the advertising sponsors during the objectionable episode. It is contacting religious leaders and organizations to rally support.
The board members and senior management of Comedy Central owner Viacom will also be contacted about the image.
âWe will take out ads in newspapers,â Donohue said. âWe are not going away.â