A Norwegian television station that asked teenage girls to “convert to Islam” to win Justin Bieber gig tickets has refused to apologise for the offensive stunt...
...but says it is sorry that the girls received death threats.
The Norwegians, both under 18, were told to remove all make-up, put on hijabs and recite an Islamic statement of belief in Arabic on TV Norge comedy show ‘Anne-Kat’.
Despite admitting yesterday that they had to pull a clip of the show from YouTube after offended viewers subjected the girls to a barrage of insults and threatened to kill them - TV Norge insisted they weren’t sorry for running the stunt.
“In Norway we have freedom of speech and expression,” TV Norge communications director Svein Tore Bergestuen told 7DAYS.
“The reaction we got in Norway was as expected - that everyone understood this was a sketch and humour.”
However, some international viewers, including faith leaders, did not find it funny. The TV station and the girls were accused by some of insulting Islam through the stunt. “For the international reaction and death threats, for that I am sorry,” said the TV Norge employee.
And Bergestuen said the company did not believe that it had offended Islam. “They didn’t actually convert to Islam,” he said. “They weren’t religious beforehand and they aren’t religious now.”
The girls, one aged 14, were also told to say “Justin Bieber is unclean and probably gay” in a desperate bid to get their hands on passes to the singer’s Oslo gigs. Bieber is on his worldwide ‘Believe’ tour. He plays at Dubai’s Sevens Stadium for two gigs on May 4 and 5.