*Nine Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have banned together in protest of NBC’s new military-themed reality series “Stars Earn Stripes,” claiming it treats military maneuvers like athletic events and glorifies war.
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“It is our belief that this program pays homage to no one anywhere and continues and expands on an inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence,” the Nobel laureates said in an open letter. “Real war is down in the dirt deadly. People — military and civilians — die in ways that are anything but entertaining.”
Tutu who won his Nobel in 1984 for efforts to end apartheid in South Africa, was joined in the letter by American anti-landmines campaigner Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams of Northern Ireland, former East Timor President Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta, Argentine artist Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala and Iranian lawyer Dr. Shirin Ebadi.
The series premiered on NBC on Monday night. It pairs celebrity participants such as boxer Laila Ali, “The Biggest Loser” trainer Dolvett Quince and action star Terry Crews with U.S. military personnel for simulated military challenges.
The letter calling for an end to the show was sent Monday to NBC boss Robert Greenblatt and others connected with the show. NBC, meanwhile, issued a statement denying that “Stars Earn Stripes” glorifies war.
“’Stars Earn Stripes’ is about thanking the young Americans who are in harm’s way every day. This show is not a glorification of war but a glorification of service,” the network said.
*Tracy Morgan may be catching hell in the U.S. for his gay-bashing rant during a June 3 stand-up appearance, but he’s still in good standing in Europe.
The “30 Rock” star was named outstanding actor in a comedy series at the 51st Monte Carlo Television Festival’s Golden Nymph Awards on Friday night, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Morgan was not at the event, which also recognized fellow U.S. properties “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm, “Desperate Housewives,” “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
Morgan’s prize was announced around the same time that NBC brass and “30 Rock” creator Tina Fey were in damage control mode over Morgan’s on-stage declaration that he’d “pull out a knife and stab” his son if he were gay.
As previously reported, both the Peacock’s entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt and Fey issued statements on Friday condemning Morgan’s words, which the comedian had apologized for earlier in the day.
Two more of Tracy Morgan’s “30 Rock’ co-stars are speaking out about the actor’s anti-gay comments.
On Friday, Alec Baldwin — an advocate of gay rights — sent a tweet with the message “Oh that Tracy.” But a day later, he added: “No one’s making excuses for Tracy.”
Meanwhile, openly gay actor Cheyenne Jackson, who plays Danny on the NBC comedy, issued a statement to Out Magazine.
“I am disgusted and appalled by Tracy Morgan’s homophobic rant,” he said. “The devastating repercussions of hate-filled language manifest in very real ways for today’s LGBTQ youth. I’ve known Tracy for two years, spent many long hours with him on set, and I want to believe that this behavior is not at the core of who he is. I’m incredibly disappointed by his actions, and hope that his apology is sincere.”
*The Producers Guild of America said Wednesday that its third annual Produced By conference has added Morgan Freeman to its lineup of speakers.
The event, held in conjunction with the Association of Film Commissioners International Locations show, takes place June 3-5 at the Walt Disney Studios. More than 200 exhibitors are scheduled to attend.
Also newly-added to the lineup are NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, writer-producer Darren Star and filmmaker Kevin Smith to its lineup of speakers, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Topics will include new media, global finance, producer/director collaboration, distribution, independent film, scripted television, reality television, digital content and brand identity.
Scheduled are sessions featuring producer Larry Gordon (Die Hard, Field of Dreams, Watchmen); the Weinstein Co.’s Harvey Weinstein and producer Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy, Source Code); and a panel with showrunners including Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), Damon Lindelof (Lost), Andrew Marlowe (Castle) and Star (Sex and the City).
For a complete lineup, visit www.producedbyconference.com.