On August 17, the Catholic League took out a large ad in Variety magazine titled, THIS IS THE FINAL STRAW: SHOWTIME SHOULD NOT RENEW PENN & TELLER.
The ad was written in response to the August 27 episode, the season’s finale, attacking the Vatican. Though when we went to press we had not seen the show, we learned enough about it from Penn Jillette, and Showtime’s website, to launch a counter-offensive. They boasted how they let the Vatican have it, graphically describing some of the show’s contents; they left little to the imagination. Given the history of Penn & Teller’s vicious record of Catholic bashing, we had no reason to doubt that this episode would be another crude attack.
We did not call for CBS, which owns Showtime (a cable subscription, pay-for-view channel), to cancel the episode. But we did cite previous examples of Penn & Teller’s malicious assaults, especially on Mother Teresa. And we know they have been spoken to before by CBS management. Evidently, the Catholic-bashing duo doesn’t care what their bosses say.
So the time has come for CBS to pull the plug, so to speak. We will publish the ad in the next edition of Catalyst, and provide a follow-up on what happened.