TORONTO (JTA) — The makers of a new Canadian reality TV show have apologized for an online trailer in which one of the program’s characters says she hates Jews.
"Lake Shore," a Toronto-based program modeled on MTV’s hugely successful show "Jersey Shore," has not started filming yet but already was at the center of controversy last week when a trailer on YouTube showed one of the main characters saying, "I’m not racist because I hate everybody equally, especially Jewish people."
Maryam Rahimi, executive producer of Lake Shore, told media last week that "we are not a racist show. If we offended anyone in any way, we apologize."
In interviews last week Sibel Atlug, 23, who made the remark about Jews, said "I don’t hate Jewish people. I actually say I hate everybody equally. I was just poking fun at it."
Rahimi told the CanWest media network that "our intention is to make provocative television," but she stressed that the show will be about "exposing stereotypes in order to break them down and build relationships rather than destroy them."
"Lake Shore," which still has to be picked up by a network, will chronicle the lives of eight 20-something Torontonians as they live under the same roof, drink, party and sleep with each other.
But unlike "Jersey Shore," each character on "Lake Shore" will be from a different ethnic background. Two former cast hopefuls have come forward to say they felt pressured to make racist comments during their auditions.
Canadian Jewish Congress CEO Bernie Farber told CanWest the show "appears to be a [deliberate], provocative attempt by the producers to turn races and creeds and faiths against each other simply for ratings, simply to get a TV spot. That to me is absolutely disgusting."