FCC CONTACTED OVER “HISTERIA!”

Catalyst December Issue 1998, Front Page

It was bad enough that the show was classic Catholic-baiting. What made it worse was that it was an animated-history lesson for kids done to fulfill FCC requirements. We are speaking of an edition of the Warner Bros. show “Histeria!” that ran nationwide on October 31 and November 1.

In the show that we addressed, there was a portrayal of the Inquisition, “Convert or Die,” that depicted a game show where the contestants are tied to a wheel and tortured for every wrong answer. The host of the show, a bishop, is called “Torquemada” by the prisoner-contestants.

In the show, the bishop gives the contestant 20 seconds to confess “the single most terrible heresy you’ve committed.” We get answers like, “I ate meat on the day of abstinence,” etc. The bishop informs him that the correct answer is “I have read books forbidden by the Catholic Church and am a big stinky heretic.” He adds, “the next time you commit a mortal sin against the Church, don’t be surprised if someone comes up to you and says….[interruption]—‘Convert or Die.’”

Usually, our complaints just go to the offending network. But in this case, we went directly to the FCC. By its own admission, WB says that “Histeria!” is supposed to be an “original and hysterically amusing way” of “fulfilling the FCC educational programming requirement.” We hope the FCC doesn’t find anything “hysterically amusing” about our complaint.


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Written by Bill