Anorak News | UN Debates Sexual Harassment On Battlestar Galactica

UN Debates Sexual Harassment On Battlestar Galactica

by | 23rd, March 2009

HAVING brought you “UN Greens Debate Final Chapter Of Battlestar Galactica”, Anorak hears from Alan Sepinwall TV critic of The Star-Ledger, who was able to attend the big intergalactic heated deabte:

Last night, I had one of the coolest/geekiest experiences of my career, as I got to attend a panel discussion on “Battlestar Galactica” at the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council Chamber, featuring Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell and producers Ron Moore and David Eick and several UN reps, moderated by Whoopi Goldberg.

You need to read on – the future of mankind depends on it, probably:

Sci Fi Channel went to the trouble of dressing up every seat in the room with placards designating the 12 Colonies. Caprica, naturally, was the primo seating area. I wound up getting a very good view but a very uninspiring colony by sitting in the Leonis section. At first, we wondered if they were maybe pre-existing props from the series (maybe from season one’s “Colonial Day”), but the corners weren’t cropped, and a friend who used to work on the show pointed out that for that to be true, someone would have needed to know this event would be happening before production wrapped almost a year ago so they could be saved, and that’s unlikely. By the end of the evening, a lot of the placards had disappeared into people’s bags.


1. The evening was as much about the UN as about “Battlestar Galactica,” if not moreso. There were four segments, devoted to issues like human rights, terrorism, and children and armed conflict… Some of the panelists admittedly had never watched the show before they were invited to do the event, and some of the subjects had only a tangential connection at best (“BSG” really only dealt with kids and human trafficking in “Black Market”), and it felt like a lot of the night was an attempt to introduce “BSG” fans to issues that the UN deals with as opposed to introducing the geo-politically-inclined to “BSG.”

2. Eddie Olmos likes to talk. The guy’s opinionated, and he’s passionate, and he’ll go on a while. (Whoopi had to cut him off a few times.) But he also has a sense of self-deprecation about it. “You should’ve never invited me here,” he admitted, right before he went on a rant about his hatred of the concept of referring to different ethnic groups as “races.” (Said rant climaxed with him leading the crowd in a call-and-response of “So say we all!”)..

Now, onto the four segments:

Human Rights

We started off with clips of Kara torturing Leoben in “Flesh and Bone,” then The Circle conducting their executions in “Collaborators,” and then Lee’s speech in “Crossroads, Part 2” about how they’ve become a gang. Craig Mokhiber, Deputy Director of the New York office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, seemed the most plugged-in to the show of all the UN reps, making several references to the show — “We are all Cylons,” he said at one point, while discussing the idea that we dehumanize our enemies to allow ourselves to do horrible things to them, “Every one of us is a Cylon, and every one of us is a Colonial.”

Fact and fiction – can you spot the difference?

Human Rights

Moore and Eick talked a lot about Leoben getting waterboarded, and Eick noted that they went out of their way to make it ambiguous whether he actually had the nuke Kara was looking for, which made it even harder to get on her side as she tortured him…

Children and Armed Conflict

One of the student questions went back to the human rights discussion, asking Mary whether she thought that Roslin was committing crimes when she threw people out of airlocks. Mary said she did, and that it troubled her personally, but that in character, she was absolutely committed to the belief that it was necessary.

“Mary can say she was haunted by airlocking,” said Eick, “But she was the one who made it a verb”…


The clip reel, not surprisingly, focused on the New Caprica arc and Roslin and Saul Tigh’s debate about suicide bombing. Moore said he wanted Tigh to have a strategic rationale for ordering the bombings, that it would be much more frightening if he was logical than if he was crazy.

Reconciliation and Dialogue Among Civilizations and Faiths

And on a lighter closing note, Whoopie said, “I thank God for the word ‘Frak,'” which she’s used a few times on “The View,” to the confusion of her co-stars.

And the finale (via Andrew Bolt):

If this wasn’t sufficiently surreal, Edward James Olmos, who plays the Battlestar’s admiral, accused the UN of being illiberal and racially divisive. “Adults will never be able to stop using the word ‘race’ as a cultural determinant,” he intoned. There is only one race: the human race. So say we all!” Those last four words, the Galactica’s battle-cry, echoed around the chamber as his audience took up the refrain.

Anorak introduces a new module: sexual harrasment in the workplace. Exhibit A – ther perv…

Posted: 23rd, March 2009 | In: Key Posts, Photojournalism, Politicians Comments (2) | TrackBack | Permalink