Desmond Tutu calls for axing of TV show

2012-08-14 07:37
New York - Nine Nobel Peace Prize winners are speaking out against a new NBC competition series they say treats military manoeuvres like athletic events.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the other Nobel laureates protested in an open letter that the show, Stars and Stripes, glorifies war and armed violence.

The series, premiering on NBC on Monday, pairs celebrities with US military personnel for simulated military challenges. Celebrity participants include boxing champion Laila Ali, Superman actor Dean Cain, Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's husband, Todd Palin.

The programme is hosted by retired Army General Wesley Clark.

"I'm doing this series for one reason," says Clark at the top of the show - "to introduce you, the American people, to the individuals that sacrifice so much for all of us."

'Trying to sanitise war'

The series is billed on its website as a "fast-paced competition" whose contestants "will gather at a remote training facility where they will be challenged to execute complicated missions inspired by real military exercises".

Stars Earn Stripes says it "pays homage to the men and women who serve in the US armed forces and our first-responder services".

The letter, sent on Monday to Clark, NBC boss Robert Greenblatt, producer Mark Burnett and others connected with the show, argues "this programme pays homage to no one anywhere" and criticises it for "trying to somehow sanitise war by likening it to an athletic competition".


The letter calls for NBC to stop airing the series.

NBC defended the show saying, it isn't "a glorification of war, but a glorification of service".

Besides Tutu, signers of the letter include Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Betty Williams.

The Nobel laureates also declared their support for a protest against the show scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon outside NBC's Rockefeller Centre headquarters in Manhattan.


  • iceman196 - 2012-08-14 08:19

    Besides Tutu, signers of the letter include Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Shirin Ebadi, Jose Ramos-Horta, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Oscar Arias Sanchez, Rigoberta Menchu Tum and Betty Williams. WHO THE HELL ARE THEY?

      djmain1 - 2012-08-14 12:37

      Nobel Peace prize winners! Wake up!

      sheda.habib - 2012-08-14 18:55

      This world needs a wake up and nothing better than a world war to do that. So some of us will die others will suffer, but hell, the survivors will come out of it learning just a little bit more...... most of you will disagree with me so watchout when the proverbial hits the fan because I will be smiling.

      bfvillet - 2012-08-14 20:55

      @sheda you are as bad as them wishing war to create peace

      wdvilliers - 2012-08-15 05:59

      Yes Sheda what have we learned about war? The last 1000 wars? And what are we going to learn now?

      sticky.toffee - 2012-08-15 08:22

      Sheda, why do we have to touch the stove to find out that its hot. There are so much better ways to learn about peace without bloodshed.

      patrick.buckley.712 - 2012-08-15 12:26

      Is there a big enough cork for this a***holes mouth!

      jpstrauss - 2012-08-15 14:02

      LOL Barack Obama also won a Nobel Peace Prize, a few months before starting a new war and escalating current ones.

      Billy - 2012-08-15 14:29

      sheda this mentallity that you need to break it all down to make it better is a load of bull. the ONLY thing survivors would learn from something like that is to break everything down when things get tough. that is a defeatist approach. you might as well roll over and die when you are finding things difficult.

      boeretroos.redakteur - 2012-08-15 15:51

      War is great - if you are winning !

  • mofstok - 2012-08-14 08:24

    I think he is overestimating his importance.

      burningdogz - 2012-08-15 05:32

      Yeah Sumerian, my forefathers invented guns, and cars, and pretty much everything else useful on earth. I would say that makes them pretty damn clever. *Shrug* You wanted to start poking at race, let's poke. . . Statistically in South Africa more crimes with fire-arms are committed by black people. White man and his gun? Really? Before you go all "yeah but they were oppressed and blah blah excuse excuse" just keep in mind that those excuses are an attempt to justify the fact that they are statistically the biggest armed criminals. The only reason you point out those few incidences where the white men were involved is because it is such a rare event it tends to get a bit more pull from the media. "Oh a black man shot someone with a gun? Nah, don't stop the presses, just another day in SA." America has more white people with more guns than South Africa, with your logical it should be an old school western shooting ring. Now before I give you the answer to this one, do some good old fashioned research before you start yapping about them bloody white people.

      honker.tonker - 2012-08-15 09:06

      @STumerian lol you know that blacks make due with what they can. Look at how the ANC killed thousands of their own. Their sole contribution to modern warfare? NECKLACE MURDERS! Being primitive and uninventive doesn't change the bottomline. And how barbaric to set your own people on fire. I guess I'll never understand that.

  • Swapie - 2012-08-14 08:29

    Ai tog, the \oues\ must stay retired.

      john.balcony.7 - 2012-08-15 17:59

      Seeing what South Africans comment on News24 really makes me worry sometimes....

      joubert.joep - 2012-08-16 04:11

      Makes me worried too he probably signed because he was unable to read and understand... Do not critisize him!

  • nicholas.graan - 2012-08-14 08:32

    All this patriotic gobbledygook! This is just another mind numbing reality show designed to make money.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-08-14 15:49

      Strange , all this religous gobbledygook he supports. Another mind-numbing fantasy designed to make money. I think reality shows cause far less violence than relgion does/has or ever could dream of but the hypocacy of religous conviction breaks boundries of cognative disonnance more than we will ever know , fair enough though , you petition to stop that show and i'll continue to petition against TV evangilists trying to pry the last few bucks from desperate and vulnerable people to fund the lavish lifestyles of charletons like Ted Haggard or Scott Lively who has cost many Ugandan lives with his divinely ordained opposition to gay rights . Really an appeal to producer not to glorify war would have been enough .

  • sekalf.nroc - 2012-08-14 08:32

    but he is right - what a stupid show to produce - new way of recruiting more personal for the Army

      selfdiscovery - 2012-08-14 18:25 Tutu adds a beautiful message in the great song! This song brings hope to our fragile world!

  • kosmonooit - 2012-08-14 08:40

    Lest we forget! That's the thing, we haven't had a 'decent' war for a while, the horrors of war are forgotten and the macho aspect becomes glamorised. Also happened with the ABSA marketing of the Cape Epic.

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-08-14 08:51

    In a new twist, the show's producers have said that the pilot episode will feature army personnel and celebrities on a mission to hunt down and kill 9 nobel peace prize winners.

      boffin.bobreturns - 2012-08-14 09:54

      Lol vernon.

  • Peter Zylstra - 2012-08-14 08:52

    Tutu, don't meddle in other countries affairs! Spend you effort at home and send a similar letter to all the farmer murderers then you will be doing something useful.

      chez.kri - 2012-08-14 09:09

      @Peter. Have you never heard him speak out about South African atrocities? Is he not alklowed to speak abotu anything other than what happens here? Do you ever speak about the goings on in other countries? Well then, why can't he?

      oom.koos.7 - 2012-08-14 13:36

      Peter, what a briliant sugestion..

  • brian.jinola - 2012-08-14 09:17

    Well said Mr Tutu.. The reality is that the US are a bunch of war mongers.All they know is how to kill innocent women and children. All they have ever contributed to the world is pornography and fat people who eat to much MacDonalds.. There economy is in tatters . a few men from a mountainous desert (Afghanistan) have been able to cripple them so badly.Did you notice how they pulled out from there. and Afghanistan still remains unconquered even though they have all this modern equipment.. and all these "reality shows"

      richard.russmann - 2012-08-14 15:26

      oh the wonder of an open mind. Pull you head out of your arse.

      christopher.collings.9 - 2012-08-14 21:52

      lol u have no clue do u, have u ever been 2 the US?

  • richard.fahrenfort - 2012-08-14 09:18

    ...and the great media propaganda machine continues to indoctrinate its zombiefied audience... Nice move Arch and co.

  • stefan.janssen.777 - 2012-08-14 09:46

    @Ian. Can you put a sentence together without swearing and using foul language? I doubt it! @ boffin. That "dreadful little man" as you call him has more integrity in his little dreadful pinky tha you will ever have. Everyone entitled to their opinions, right?

      chez.kri - 2012-08-14 12:14

      @Stefan. Oh thank goodness there is another person not filled with hate on this page. Thank you.

      iceman196 - 2012-08-14 16:09

      @stefan, can you put one word together, a woman was shot 3 times in the face, not a peep out of your hero, typical

  • anwar.daniels - 2012-08-14 10:54

    What readers need to understand is that if you can make a difference, no matter where in the world it may be, then do so. yes, SA has its cr@p here, but I don't think he speaks out against international wrong doings at the expense of SA. What he is doing is right, and don't think that what happens elsewhere does not affect us. We can't live with our heads in the sand...If you can speak out, for or against, then do so.

      robbie.crouch - 2012-08-14 11:18

      Come on please... it's a TV game show.

      anwar.daniels - 2012-08-14 11:27

      then lets have a tv game show where women are abused, kids are bullied, animals are hurt, and war is glorified...More often than not shows are not just shows, they do have the ability to influence, you have to know that. either way, right or wrong, I cant fault Tutu for speaking out beyond the borders 0 0 | Delete

      chez.kri - 2012-08-14 12:18

      @anwar. Thank you; Tutu is a great man and we should listen when he speaks.

      anwar.daniels - 2012-08-15 07:53

      @buzzbar - Whatever abuse happens no matter where, Middle east included, it's deplorable. And no need to deflect focus to something else, this still needs attention. I assume you posted that statement because of my name, don't be so quick to judge or stereotype, your prejudice is showing

  • Werewabbit - 2012-08-14 11:15

    A warm reminder that Tutu is not an ANC member- or any other political party for that matter

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-08-15 10:27

      So what, Warren. He seems to have a bit of influence here. Let him use it to sort out our many, many problems and leave the USA to sort out theirs

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-08-14 11:16

    ROFLMAO... focus on the REAL issues Desmond.

      anwar.daniels - 2012-08-14 11:54

      you forget there are 6 Nobel laureates, and when they speak, its best we listen since i suspect they know a little more than our average News24 commenter

  • vernon.meakin - 2012-08-14 11:39

    Tuti, Please get them to pull Big Brother ,I beg you.

      ben.louw.5 - 2012-08-14 16:17

      There is still a big brother?

      lester.nel - 2012-08-14 19:16


  • brian.ocinneide.7 - 2012-08-14 12:33

    What has it got to do with poor old Desmond? Still seeking publicity.

  • brian.ocinneide.7 - 2012-08-14 12:38

    Poor old Desmond, still looking for publicity. what has this programme to do with him?

      sekalf.nroc - 2012-08-14 14:19

      only parrots repeat themselves - ahh and donkeys!

  • frans.grobler3 - 2012-08-14 12:39

    Tutu and CC what about SA farmers Eish!!!!!!!! Should you not address home issues before challenging Goliath who by the way gave you the noble peace prize for regarding your own home issues.

  • rhum.kibong - 2012-08-14 13:17

    They need to recruit more soldiers

  • aaron.radebe.1 - 2012-08-14 14:25

    I'm sorry, but ever since this man declared his support for a racist ("wealth") tax in South Africa he has lost all credibility.

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-08-14 14:29

    Strange that Tutu, still sneaking around in his archbishop attire although he is long since retired, calls on the world's greatest nation to cancel a program which honours it's soldiers but at the same time is silent on the atrocities committed against white farmers and others in his own country. Why doesn't he open his mouth when the so-called ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe soldiers are paraded every ANC function in their camouflage uniform? The only war they ever fought was without these same uniforms and against defenceless civilians in pubs and churches!

      shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-08-14 20:49

      The worlds greatest nation? Are you delusional

      shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-08-14 20:50

      Just think about Americas track record for one second

      shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-08-14 20:54

      where were the so called whites when innocent south africans were being tortured...their human rights ripped from them as well as their dignity...50 odd years of many marches did they ever do...or was it a dream.....where were they then....i nbelieve many so called whites sacrificed alongside the oprressed majority of south africans...but the large majority of so called whites did not stop the governments was too doesn't give anyone the right to be violent and retaliate...but it does beg the question where were they???? all those years???

  • anthea.lagrange - 2012-08-14 14:37

    And while you're at it get them to cancel Army Wives, which glamorises the lives of the families that support their soldiers(*caution, heavy sarcasm*)

  • evertpbotha - 2012-08-14 14:58

    Watched about half of the first episode on Global TV here in Canada last night. What a wast of time. Big Brother Meets Call of Duty Meets Fear Factor Meets Carte Blanche...yuk!

  • jmsepmybr.zuma - 2012-08-14 15:07

    Desmond You Are A TWAT. Last time you spoiled the U2 Cape town aswell.You are not so important.please Shut the f*%K up!

      chez.kri - 2012-08-14 15:40

      @jmsep....Ooh i am so very blessed not to know you. what an awful thing to say about a man so filled with love and compassion for others. Tsk tsk, dreadful!

  • manu.dibango.96 - 2012-08-14 15:10

    This is not the first time such a show has been aired. In 2004 there was a reality TV series called 'Combat Missions' that featured military personel executing simulated combat missions. The combat missions involved raids and rescue missions in which the participants had to kill oponents (simulated). The show was interesting in that it showed the life of soldiers. But when one of the soldiers went to Iraq and was killed there (he was one of those soldiers who was burnt by a mob and dragged through the streets) the show left a bad after taste. It's all fun and games until you realise that what is being trivialised is 'the value life'. Based on watching that show I have to agree with Tutu. It's wrong to glorify the business of killing (which is what the military is about). Where does all this stop? How long will it be before we start having gladiator games?

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-14 15:40

    These kind of shows are no coincidence. They are meant to desensetivise Americans in regards to war and violence, as that country's elite need perpetual wars to satisfy the insatiable appetite of its military and corporate class who make billions from conflicts and war.

  • Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-08-14 16:03

    He obviously didn't listen to Bheki Cele.

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-08-14 16:17

    Yeah kill it..Just another "god bless our freedom and the American flag" circle jerk...

  • mack.myburgh - 2012-08-14 16:29

    Tutu needs to chill out< come back to South Africa, an rather adress his shameful "comrades" about thier bad behaviour.

  • colin.ashby.35 - 2012-08-14 16:46

    the man continues to stick his nose in wherever he can into business thats not his.he hates money makers.thats why he asked companies to boycott south africa and he put lots of people out of work. seems to be doing the same here. he said he would retire and keep his life quiet.seems its not happening

  • gerrit.volschenk - 2012-08-14 16:50

    Tutu self imposed moral guide for the world. Hopefully he realizes we expected him to keep quite when he retired.

  • sycomachinery - 2012-08-14 16:57

    All these clever people forget that Alfred Nobel was the inventor of TNT, better known as dynamite, this substance just made war so much easier, they should really give up their Nobel prizes and prizemoney for that matter if they were really that ''Noble'' about the cause.

  • pisciotta - 2012-08-14 18:22

    Why are American TV programs even wasting their time showing in SA? Doesn't SA have its own TV programs worth watching? You don't see SA TV in the USA? Wonder why that is.

  • sheda.habib - 2012-08-14 19:09

    22 u are my hero but this is one time you dont know what you saying Denis Hurley was a bishop 22 was 12 Madiba 1 a peace prize 22 112

  • Vince.York - 2012-08-14 20:20

    Obviously other people that would prefer to see FARM MURDERS orchestrated by the unwritten advocated racist policies of South Africa in all their gory unjust detail "in progress" rather - is who they are. The INACTION taken by every single one of these people ranting about a TV reality show, show course disregard for the reality of the tragedy unfolding in South Africa and all based on the unjust racism as expressed by the ANC causing an EXTREMELY unhealthy mindset among the youth and reaching levels of extremely unhealthy education as the rewritten history books OBE have poured into their one ear for decades. Get real Tutu, and get home - instead of emulating the distant presidents that are too far from reality of our own SA to bother with crucial issues at home - except of course to help themselves to entitled riches out of the public coffers..

  • shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-08-14 20:46

    TYPICAL...Coming from a country that goes into Iraq with a huge proven destroy the infra-structure...kill innocent civilians...against United Nations Security Council wishes...why are they not facing crimes against they actually want to use peoples suffering to make money for'entertainment'...? Are we surprised...the only self-appointed policeman of the world...what gives them the right to play judge jury and executioner while they go into muslim countries to steal their oil...destabilize their countries....and bring their brand of democracy.....why is all the school killings...the batman killings...etc happening there...if you preach hate against people with propaganda this is the result

  • andrea.naude - 2012-08-14 21:24

    Simply put... stop worrying about a crappy American production and worry about your own country and their citizens, who will incidently run rings around any war mongering nation, with their violence... just a thought. And yes... I do happen to respect you, but stop with grandstanding and bring a clear message to the nation of murder and mayhem.

  • anotheradrian - 2012-08-14 22:26

    Tutu is such a legend. America is the biggest propaganda machine, if any other country had to produce the $hit that they do.. it would be called propaganda and terrorism. They glorification of service? The glorification of violence. Its all spin. Operation freedom, civilian casualties, operation restore hope. lies lies lies. They truly believe that carpet bombing innocent people, invading and occupying countries is making them or any other country safer? They should have renamed the department of defence to the department of attack a long time ago

  • avrilandandre - 2012-08-15 00:12

    I bet anyone that the show hosts of NBC and those celebrities have NEVER been on the front line, or first hand seen what war really is. Ask our own South Africans who participated in the border war in South West Africa (Namibia)...DIS NIE SPELETJIES NIE!!!. War to many 1st worls nations is a means to stimulate the economy, because war generates the cost of many many innocent lives. But there will always be IDIOTS out there who glorifies war...wait, your time will come to experience it first hand, then we will see if it is still fun and games.

  • - 2012-08-15 00:19

    A bit off topic, but why is the old geezer still wearing his clerical frock? Isn't he supposed to be retired?

  • johann.malan - 2012-08-15 05:26

    Blessed are the peacemakers...

  • breinlekkasie.dodelikegif - 2012-08-15 06:32

    What about Archery, Wrestling, Boxing Judo and SHOOTING? PAINT BALL already incorporate some warfare strategies. Catch a wake-up old man!

  • odupreez - 2012-08-15 08:01

    Desmond - You should rather concentrate on the VIOLENT crime in our country, and organise rallies against it.

  • cliff.slabbert - 2012-08-15 09:25

    Mind your own business Tutu!

  • Tony - 2012-08-15 10:19

    Maybe he should read his bible and not watch TV?

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2012-08-15 10:24

    I wish the Arch would rather concentrate on the crime, greed and violence in our own country. You don't like the TV programme? There's a simple solution - don't watch. You don't want your kids to see it? You have parental control on what is available for the children to watch on TV, last time I looked. I wish the VIPs in this country would concentrate on our own woes and let other countries sort out their problems. MYOB - mind your own business!!!

  • alon.fisher.752 - 2012-08-15 10:59

    Oh shut up man will you Desmond? people are getting raped,maimed and killed here at home and you worried about a stupid American TV show? Get real for once and show compassion for SA,after all charity begins at home.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-08-15 11:27

    Celebrities!!!! Scott Palin a celebrity, give me a break. Not to mention the rest of the 'who were they again' crowd. Funnny when they eat bugs and what have you on these programs no one complains, when they grab crocodiles by the tail and swing them arround no one complains, when they sort of survive in the wild and kill animals for food no one complains. But now a lot of have beens and military types are playing a war game and everyone is up in arms. Hypocrites.

  • andydal - 2012-08-15 11:34

    Does our dear Bishop realise that the current Olympic games were directly inspired by the martial arts of the day such as spear throwing, horse-riding and archery?

  • Billy - 2012-08-15 14:32

    this is all just amircan feel good rubbish, make themselves feel good about sending their people off to die in a pointless war.. i too have had the thought that desmond has, it DOES seem like america is trying to soften/sanitise war. or even glorify it if you will... "uncle sam needs you" posters. now the media/movies/tvseries does the same thing.