On Sunday October 14, Showtime aired the second episode of season 2 of the hit drama "Homeland." The episode showed a terrorist meeting on Beirut's Hamra Street. The cosmopolitan, modern street was depicted to be full of violence.
Just weeks ago, Homeland had a very successful night at the 2012 Emmys. Clare Danes took home the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, "Pesky Brit" Damian Lewis won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor, and the show won Best Writing in a Drama Series, and Best Drama Series.
The second season of the highly successful show is now underway, and it's already causing controversy. The second episode of the second season has a scene that is supposed to take place in Beirut, Lebanon, but really takes place in Israel, Executive magazine reports.
Lebanese Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud is extremely angered by the way Beirut is depicted in the show. He is also offended that filming took place in Israel and not in Lebanon itself, BBC News reports. The series is actually based on an Israeli series called Hatufim (Prisoners of War).
Filming in Beirut would have been difficult because Homeland's co-creator Gideon Raff is Israeli and Israeli citizens are barred from visiting the city. They chose to film in Israel instead to avoid any sort of trouble.
"This kind of film damages the image of Lebanon," Abboud told Executive magazine. "It is not fair to us and it is not true."
On Thursday, Abboud told The Associated Press that he's so angry about the way Beirut was portrayed, he's considering some sort of legal action.
Abboud noted a scene with snipers walking around Hamra Street. "It showed Hamra Street with militia roaming in it. This does not reflect reality," he said. Abboud explained that Hamra Street is actually a very popular area filled with cafes, shops, and pubs.
Some Israelis are also a bit irked because with the revelation that the scene was actually filmed in Israel, it doesn't exactly portray the country in a positive light either. Tel-Aviv, where the scene was filmed, is an extremely cosmopolitan city. "This sort of diminishes Tel-Aviv and (the nearby mixed Jewish and Arab city) Jaffa, which are both more modern than Beirut," internet developer Nir Rubinstein told The AP.
Rubinstein said he understood why both the Lebanese and Israelis were upset by the scene.
Eytan Schwartz, spokesman for Tel-Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, had a bit of a different take on the situation. He told The AP that the Lebanese should actually be flattered. Schwartz noted that Tel-Aviv had "incredible architecture" and that according to Traveler's Digest, Tel-Aviv residents were ranked among the top 10 most beautiful in the world. He said he hopes one day the Lebanese regime will allow "our Lebanese friends to visit and see for themselves."
Twentieth Century Fox Television has refused to comment.