Nine Nobel Peace Prize winners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have banned together in protest of NBC’s new military-themed reality series “Stars Earn Stripes,” claiming it treats military maneuvers like athletic events and glorifies war.
“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 Nobel laureates said in an open letter. “Real war is down in the dirt deadly. People — military and civilians — die in ways that are anything but entertaining.”
Tutu who won his Nobel in 1984 for efforts to end apartheid in South Africa, was joined in the letter by American anti-landmines campaigner Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire and Betty Williams of Northern Ireland, former East Timor President Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta, Argentine artist Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala and Iranian lawyer Dr. Shirin Ebadi.
The series premiered on NBC on Monday night. It pairs celebrity participants such as boxer Laila Ali, “The Biggest Loser” trainer Dolvett Quince and action star Terry Crews with U.S. military personnel for simulated military challenges.
The letter calling for an end to the show was sent Monday to NBC boss Robert Greenblatt and others connected with the show. NBC, meanwhile, issued a statement denying that “Stars Earn Stripes” glorifies war.
“’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,” the network said.