Hollywood is rocked by scandal this morning as the UN reveals that cameras sold by Warner Brothers studios to the Saudi government have been used on a public hanging television show.
The cameras, a Powers Cameragraph No 6B 35mm and a Bell & Howell Eyemo 71-Q 35mm, were sold to the Saudis as part of a studio clear-out in 1997.
Warner Brothers insists that it was unaware as to how the cameras would be deployed.
“Warner Brothers is truly regretful that our outgoing stock has been used in this way,” states David Levenstein, Head of Studio Estates.
“We are categorically against public execution and the practice of hanging,” Levenstein explains. “But once a unit of outgoing equipment is sold, we cannot regulate how that equipment is going to be used.”
“We have no way of ensuring that one of our old cameras will not be used for a public hanging television programme, just as we cannot guarantee that a piece of sound equipment we buy from a rival studio will not be used on an Adam Sandler movie.
The Saudi show, known as إصطاد عصفورين بحجر واحد (Kill) and shown on Al Madj TV channel, came to light when it executed its first international ‘contestant’.
Adrian Chiles was a British television presenter known for hosting soccer broadcasts in the UK.
Chiles was in the Ukraine, covering the Euro 2012 soccer championships, when he was selected for public execution by the Saudi show.
Those who knew Chiles from his television broadcasts, have speculated that the reason for Chiles’s execution had something to do with his face.
Chiles was an exceptionally ugly man, and was made even more unbearable by a simpering tone of voice and the tendency to interrupt others.
“He really was a repulsive guy,” commented David Levenstein at Warner Bros. “Off the record, just looking at him, you knew something was going to happen.”
Ex UN Secretary General Kofi Annan tried to add perspective to the tragedy:
“When I was Secretary General, we told the Saudi Arabia government that we were against this show,” Annan assured journalists this morning.
“But you can understand why they did it. He really was an ugly guy. A very ugly guy. He had the face of a slippery toad.”
Chiles apparently thought his abduction, and subsequent transport to a scaffold in Riyadh, to be a practical joke staged by a guest on the Euro 2012 broadcasts, Roy Keane.
Chiles had played a series of practical jokes on Keane during the coverage of the soccer competition, including the placing of a ‘whoopie-cushion’ on the guest’s chair so that it seemed that Keane had broken wind during live broadcast.
A producer from Al Madj TV, Gafar al-Ghamdi, had this to say about the abduction:
“We take the Chiles from hotel in Kiev. He start laughing straight away. We take him to airport. On plane he cannot stop laughing. He say ‘Roy put you up to this. Where Roy?’ We arrive Riyadh and put the Chiles in taxi. He cry with laughter now. He hold he stomach. We put bag over he head and he say he love it. The crowds in the square cheer when they see the Chiles. He still have bag over head but he waving, he laughing. We get the rope. He saying ‘Hi everybody. Hi everybody. It’s me Adrian Chiles. I’m Adrian Chiles, I’m going to kill that Roy Keane.’ Then we release him. The crowd cheer. Ratings beat all records.”
Levenstein at Warner Bros conceded that although patronising, insincere, smug and bulbous, Chiles “probably didn’t deserve to die.”
Roy Keane was unavailable for comment.