A conservative advocacy group that urged a boycott of NBC’s recently canceled drama about a pill-popping priest turned its wrath Thursday to an upcoming “Will & Grace” episode that it says will mock Christ’s crucifixion.
(MSNBC is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC.)
NBC announced this week that pop star Britney Spears would make a guest appearance on the gay-oriented sitcom as a Christian conservative hired as a talk show sidekick to the gay character Jack played by series regular Sean Hayes.
In the episode, scheduled to air on April 13, Jack’s fictional TV network is bought by a Christian broadcaster, leading Spears’ character to do an Easter cooking segment on Jack’s show called “Cruci-fixin’s.”
The American Family Association immediately raised objections to the planned episode, saying it “mocks the crucifixion of Christ” and will “further denigrate Christianity” by airing the night before Good Friday.
“NBC does not treat Jews, Muslims or other religions with such disrespect,” the Mississippi-based group said on its Web site. “Yet the network demonstrates a deep hostility toward followers of Christ.”
NBC officials were not immediately available for comment. Nor were representatives for Spears, whose planned appearance on “Will & Grace” will mark her first public performance since she had her first child in September.
The advocacy group called on its supporters to urge network affiliates to refuse to run the episode and to write letters of protest to NBC executives. It also included an appeal for a ”small donation to help us in this effort.”
The same organization urged an affiliate and advertising boycott of the recent NBC series “The Book of Daniel,” a drama starring Aidan Quinn as a Vicodin-addicted Episcopal minister who talks to Jesus.
NBC, a unit of the General Electric Co., canceled the program last month after just three weeks on the air, citing abysmal ratings.
But the network also had trouble finding commercial sponsors for the show, and several smaller affiliates declined to carry the series, objecting to its portrayal of Christian themes.