Archbishop Desmond Tutu is less than enthusiastic about NBC’s new reality show “Stars Earn Stripes”. He joined eight other Nobel Peace laureates speaking out against the show in New York City on Monday. They addressed a strong letter of protest to the show’s creators, saying the program wanted to “sanitize war by likening it to an athletic competition”, according to Reuters.
“Real war is down in the dirt deadly. People – military and civilians – die in ways that are anything but entertaining,” read the letter.
“It is our belief that this program pays homage to no one anywhere and continues and expands on an inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence,” the laureates wrote to NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt, producer Mark Burnett, and Stars Earn Stripes host, retired Army General Wesley Clark.
“NBC is working with the military to attempt to turn deadly military training into a sanitized ‘reality’ TV show that reveals absolutely nothing of the reality of being a soldier in war or the consequences of war.”
Television spots for “Stars Earn Stripes” ran consistently throughout NBC programming of the London Olympic Games. The show premiered on Monday and features celebrities Todd Palin, Nick Lachey, and Laila Ali, among others.
The NBC network rejected the call to stop airing the program, explaining in a statement:
“‘Stars Earn Stripes’ is about thanking the young Americans who are in harm’s way every day. This show is not a glorification of war but a glorification of service.”
In addition to Archbishop Tutu, the Washington Post reports, “Jody Williams (1997), Mairead Maguire (1977), Dr. Shirin Ebadi (2003), President José Ramos-Horta (1996), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (1980), President Oscar Arias Sanchez (1987), Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992) and Betty Williams (1977)”, also signed the letter.