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ABC apologizes for controversial ‘Quantico’ episode, defends star Priyanka Chopra

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Priyanka Chopra and her cast mates sparked online backlash after a recent epsiode of "Quantico" that involved Indian nationalists in a terrorist plot.

Priyanka Chopra and her cast mates sparked online backlash after a recent epsiode of "Quantico" that involved Indian nationalists in a terrorist plot.  (2018 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.)

ABC studios issued an apology to its Indian fans after outrage over a recent episode of the network's crime drama "Quantico," which depicted Indian nationalists trying to frame Pakistan for a New York City terrorist plot.

The studio also defended the show's star, Priyanka Chopra, who appeared to be the target of much of the backlash from the June 1 episode titled, “The Blood of Romeo.”

"ABC Studios and the executive producers of ‘Quantico’ would like to extend an apology to our audience who were offended by the most recent episode, ‘The Blood of Romeo'," the network said in a statement released Friday.

The episode also sparked calls for a boycott of products from South Korean giant Samsung Electronics Co, endorsed by Chopra, and other work by the former Bollywood actress. 

Josh Safran, Quantico's showrunner, said that Major rule of Quantico is that it never features a Muslim terrorist. So, Is that why they featured Hindu Terrorist?
I think Priyanka Chopra could asked for script changes because She'd already changed some dialogues in Quantico before

— Anshul Saxena (@AskAnshul) June 8, 2018

That entire episode was not just an attack on Hindus but also an attack on India. Peddling Pakistani agenda that Indians make elaborate plots to frame Pakistan.

Shame on @priyankachopra for even thinking such a storyline was acceptable. #QuanticoApology https://t.co/ZvD38NzYqu

— Neha S (@neha_aks) June 8, 2018

You don't have to be a bhakt or a "Hindu extremist" to know that #Quantico finale was in bad taste. Priyanka Chopra has time and again boasted about having tight control over her scripts, and is a Fauji kid on top of that, bears at least some responsibility.

— Aditi Mathur Kumar (@adicrazy) June 6, 2018

While ABC apologized for the theme of the episode, the network defended Chopra's involvement and said, “The episode has stirred a lot of emotion, much of which is unfairly aimed at Priyanka Chopra, who didn’t create the show, nor does she write or direct it. She has no involvement in the casting of the show or the storylines depicted in the series.”

According to Reuters, some viewers even called for the Indian government to black out one scene in particular where Chopra, who plays FBI agent Alex Parrish in the series, finds a suspect with Hindu prayer beads and uses them as evidence to prove that the suspect involved in the planning of the nuclear attack is, in fact, an Indian nationalist. 

"The myth of Hindu terror, by a fake story, enters American television with the help of Priyanka Chopra. Would any Pakistani actress betray Pakistan or Islam the way she betrays India and Hinduism?" David Frawley, a Hindu scholar based in the United States, tweeted about the controversial episode. 

The myth of Hindu terror, by a fake story, enters American television with the help of Priyanka Chopra. Would any Pakistani actress betray Pakistan or Islam the way she betrays India and Hinduism? https://t.co/BbVJuClO0C

— Dr David Frawley (@davidfrawleyved) June 6, 2018

At the end of its statement, ABC pointed out that the drama series was not meant to depict true life or made with the intention of offending. 

“‘Quantico’ is a work of fiction. The show has featured antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds, but in this case, we inadvertently and regrettably stepped into a complex political issue. It was certainly not our intention to offend anyone.”

The 35-year-old Chopra, who is often celebrated as one of the few Indian actors to successfully cross over from Bollywood to Hollywood, has yet to publically comment on the recent controversy.

You can find Morgan M. Evans on Twitter @themizfactor.

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