.- The CEO of media giant Viacom has defended the airing of a T.V. special which attacks Mother Theresa and the Catholic Church saying that the episode is an example of the organizationâs commitment to âartistic freedom.â In May, the New York-based Catholic League launched a campaign against the CBS subsidiary, over program, âHolier than thouâ, starring magician entertainers Penn and Teller, who paint Mother Theresa and her Sisters of Charity as âcruel, exploitative, self-serving nun[s] who ripped off the poor.â
Donahue said, âwe mobilized Catholic bishops, priests, nuns, religious and lay persons to protest. And not without success: the vile episode of âPenn and Tellerâ that we objected to, âHolier Than Thou,â will never air again.â
Recently however, a hand-delivered letter from Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone has sparked renewed conflict.
âRedstoneâs letterâ, Donahue said, âreeks with arrogance. Showtime, he says, âfrequently airs programs with controversial, differing points of view.â So we are supposed to believe that calling nuns âf---ing c---sâ is just a âdiffering point of view.â When he says that âwe as an organization are committed to artistic freedom,â Redstone is being deceitful.â
The letter also noted that âit is tolerance for that which may be uncomfortable, unpopular and perhaps even offensive to some that defines and protects the liberties that all of our society enjoys.â
âIn other words,â Donahue said, âViacomâs intolerance of Catholics is really a demonstration of its commitment to tolerance. And by beating up on Mother Teresa and the Catholic Church, Viacom is defending the liberties of all Americans. Just like the Marines.â
The Catholic League also pointed out what they see as a double standard in Viacomâs policies. Noting a new gay and lesbian channel that the company has launched, Donahue said, âNow if only Viacom treated Catholics the way it treats gays, we could all enjoy âdiffering points of view,â âartistic freedomâ and âtoleranceâ without ever being the target of its hate speech.â