Main | Sunday, January 18, 2009

No Bishop Gene Robinson On HBO Inaugural Concert Broadcast

After days of controversy and outrage from the religious right, openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson opened Barack Obama's inauguration concert on the National Mall today with a request that the nation pray for "understanding that our president is a human being and not a messiah."

But only the people AT the concert heard that, because HBO did not televise Robinson's message. Who engineered this blackout of Robinson? I suspect we'll hear lots about this in days to come.

UPDATE: It turns out that a lot the people at the concert did NOT hear Robinson either. There were sound "difficulties" and most of the estimated 500,000 in the audience could not hear his invocation. Only those very close to the stage could hear.

UPDATE II: The 7PM rebroadcast of the show was identical, no Gene Robinson.

UPDATE III: The full text of Robinson's prayer is here. If you'd like to express your unhappiness to HBO, you can do that here. My gut tells me the call was made elsewhere.

UPDATE IV: has spoken to HBO, who says the decision to cut Robinson was made by the Obama transition team.
Contacted Sunday night by concerning the exclusion of Robinson's prayer, HBO said via email, "The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show." Uncertain as to whether or not that meant that HBO was contractually prevented from airing the pre-show, we followed up, but none of the spokespeople available Sunday night could answer that question with absolute certainty. However, it does seem that the network's position is that they had nothing to do with the decision.
UPDATE V: Somebody seated near the stage recorded Robinson's invocation.

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