A producer for a U.S. television sitcom that appears to make light of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre has apologized, saying the show was unaware of the reference.
Bosnians in Europe and North America reacted angrily after an episode of the sitcom, titled The Odd Couple, aired last month on the U.S. network CBS.
In the episode, a male character invites a prospective date to a Serbian restaurant that appears to be called A Taste Of Srebrenica.
He also mangles the pronunciation of the town where more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically rounded up and killed by the Bosnian Serb army in 1995.
In a CBS statement to RFE/RL on May 10, the show’s executive producer, Bob Daily, said:
“We were unaware of any connection to the terrible tragedy in Srebrenica. We would never intentionally disrespect or make light of such an event and sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended.”
Bosnians groups have published an open letter calling the reference offensive to relatives of those killed. Many of these relatives have continued to push for justice for those involved in the massacre.
“Saying, ‘Let’s go visit that new Serbian restaurant, The Taste of Srebrenica,’ is analogous to saying something as horrendous as: ‘Let’s go visit that new German restaurant, The Taste of Auschwitz,'” the Congress of North American Bosniaks, which represents migrants and refugees from the former Yugoslav region, said in the letter.
CBS did not immediately say whether it planned to respond to the letter.
The Srebrenica killings, whose memory is still painfully raw for many Bosnian Muslims, sparked international outrage and helped to spur forceful outside intervention to bring to the Balkan wars of the early 1990s to an end.
In 2004, the United Nations tribunal prosecuting Yugoslav war crimes officially designated the Srebrenica events as “genocide.”