Episode of Nurses pulled after criticism it promoted ‘offensive’ stereotypes

An episode of a Canadian-made television show that was criticized for promoting “inaccurate and offensive stereotypes against Hasidic Jews” is being removed from all digital platforms, the producers of the show said Feb. 24.

The offending episode of the show Nurses aired last year in Canada on the Global Network but was re-broadcast by NBC earlier this month in the United States, where it attracted unwelcome attention.NBC and Entertainment One, the Canadian producer of the show, have apologized for the content and pulled the episode from future airings.“

We deeply regret all inaccuracies related to religious beliefs as well as the negative portrayal of any religious community in our content, characters and storylines,” said a statement released late on Feb. 24 by Entertainment One, which, along with Corus Entertainment and ICF Films, produced the show.“

We sincerely apologize to the Jewish community, our viewers and series fans, and are working to understand what transpired and ensure our research practices are exhaustive moving forward and lead only to well-informed storylines,” the statement added.

The episode, entitled “Achilles Heel,” portrayed a young Hasidic man named Israel who is told he needs a bone graft from a cadaver to repair his badly injured leg. Israel and his father refuse the graft, worried that it could come from “goyim”, a woman or an Arab.

B’nai Brith Canada had called on the producers to apologize for “inaccurate and offensive stereotypes” perpetuated in the medical drama.“

The disturbing stereotypes present in this episode of Nurses are deeply damaging to Jews, especially Orthodox practitioners,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “All of this could have been avoided if producers had thought to consult members of the Orthodox Jewish community before depicting them in this false and slanderous light.”

The past two years have seen “an unprecedented wave of attacks” on Orthodox Jews in the New York area, B’nai Brith pointed out.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Canada, together with the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in the United States, also protested when the episode aired this month.

This was the second time in a week that NBC was criticized for anti-Semitic or anti-Israel commentary. A segment on Saturday Night Live on Feb. 20, about Israel’s COVID vaccination campaign, also came under fire.“Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half,” said Michael Che, co-host of SNL’s news parody, “Weekend Update.”

A petition from the American Jewish Committee demanding an apology from NBC and a retraction has gathered 15,000 signatures.“

The claim is categorically false: every Israeli, regardless of religion or ethnicity, is eligible for the COVID vaccine, and more than two thirds of Israel’s Arab citizens over 60 have already been vaccinated,” the petition states. “Saturday Night Live’s ‘joke’ isn’t just untrue, it’s dangerous – a modern twist on a classic anti-Semitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of countless Jews throughout the centuries.”

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