Bill Maher isn’t monkeying around when it comes to politically incorrect humor, or his favorite subject—the Almighty.
His new documentary, Religulous, which had its world premiere Saturday night at the Toronto Film Festival, is predictably making waves for its satirical musings on the world’s three main religions.
And then there’s the poster.
The one-sheet, which will adorn theaters outside the U.S., shows a trio of chimps dressed as a rabbi, the pope and an Islamic cleric.
“The three monkeys poster is for Canadian and international [markets] and it plays much better around the world than Bill Maher because he’s much better known here in the states. It’s got all the religions on it, and it’s not singling out one or the other,” says a publicist for distributor Lionsgate, who did not wish to be identified. “You can’t say they are discriminating. And it’s familiar: ‘Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Hear No Evil.’ “
So far leaders of several religious advocacy groups haven’t taken the bait.
“As far as the poster’s concerned, it’s fairly innocuous,” says Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League. “The problem is not the poster. It’s Bill Maher. He has said some of the most vile things. He can say all he wants about being ecumenical, but it’s only one religion he really has it out for and it’s the Catholic religion.”
“Religion is not immune to criticism or satire…but if you don’t like it, don’t go see it,” adds Abraham Foxman, national director and chairman of the Anti-Defamation League.
“I think Muslims are becoming increasingly reluctant to being drawn into these self-serving publicity gambits,” says Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “We’re not going to be goaded into jumping up and down…We’re just going to ignore it.” (MORE)