Controversial TV series, DIG, canceled
Dig, a recent TV series set in Jerusalem, has been cancelled by USA Network after just one season, due to “modest ratings/response,” according to Seriable.com.
While the show did not focus on the current situation in Israel-Palestine, it angered many Palestinians and pro-Palestine activists.
— STAND WITH PALESTINE (@Pray4Pal) March 7, 2015
One issue with the show was it was set and shot in occupied East Jerusalem. This raised eyebrows among activists, including those at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, who wrote that USA Network is helping with “whitewashing Israel’s military occupation and illegal colonization of East Jerusalem.”
Producers, however, stressed the significance of the setting to the storyline, which follows an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who realizes an ancient international conspiracy.
“The character of Jerusalem is paramount to the storytelling; it has so much history, so many layers,” DIG director S.J. Clarkson said.
Due to growing tensions between Israel and Gaza, production was eventually moved from Jerusalem to Albuquerque in July 2014.
Another point of controversy was the revelation that Dig received funding from the Israeli government – $6.2 million in two payments: $3.2 million for the first season and a promised $2.3 million should Dig have filmed a second season. The money was to come from several ministries of the Israeli government, including the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy, and the Ministry of Tourism. When this was disclosed, 20 Palestinian civil society groups called for the show to be cancelled.
Some have argued that the show is a propaganda tool for the Israeli government, while others say it is nothing like that.
Palestinian author, journalist, and activist, Ali Abunimah took to Twitter to call out Reza Aslan, a Muslim American who has served as a “cultural consultant” for the show. Abunimah said Aslan “publicly advertised his role in Israeli-financed propaganda show Dig at the time of the Gaza massacre.”
Aslan attempted to defend himself, replying, “I helped craft the story of the show & trust me it’s opposite of propaganda.”
Whatever this show’s intended purpose, it matters little now, as Dig has been buried in the hole it dug for itself.