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.
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.
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.