Washington DC (June 9, 2017) — Whatever the combination of factors that led to the decision by CNN to not renew Reza Aslan’s “Believer” for a second season — Aslan’s recent outspoken tweets about President Trump, months-long outcry over content from the Hindu American community and others, or plain old not-good-enough ratings — the Hindu American community is pleased that the series will no longer air on CNN.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) joined a national campaign to educate CNN and Reza Aslan about Hinduism, and to protest Aslan’s profoundly sensationalized presentation of Aghori Hindu monks. The effort led to several opinion pieces, condemnations from several members of the US Congress, outrage from scholars teaching Hinduism and a spirited social media initiative.
Not renewing “Believer” is an important step for CNN, and HAF is thankful that other religions will not face misleading, insensitive, and false representations that the Hindu tradition faced in the series.
HAF remains deeply concerned that the Foundation’s offer for direct dialogue with CNN has not yet been reciprocated. Just last week, Alisyn Camerota displayed a lack of cultural understanding in glibly making assumptions about the Hindu American winner of the National Spelling Bee, Ananya Vinay. CNN needs to do much more.