Every critic has a personal agenda. Many agendas are worthy of consideration. However, those born out of bigotry and intolerance must be fought. To those Hindus we offended, our apology stands. To those with an agenda of intolerance, this is not a victory.
When the show was reinstated, it was done so with approval after editing by those who sought to remove the episode in the first place. However, Tusta Krishnadas was not satisfied -- will he ever be? -- and threw a tantrum that he had not gotten his way.
Indeed, many Hindus around the world had different reactions to "The Way" -- but not all of them were bad. As many have stated in the Protest Book below, the show is just fantasy, and should be taken with a grain of salt. If you want accuracy, go watch The History Channel. I think many people who saw "The Way" -- Hindu, Catholic, Pagan, European, American, African, gay, lesbian, straight, rich, poor, male, female, young, old, whatever -- never watched the show thinking it to be the voice of truth on any one subject -- not on ancient Greek religion, not on Julius Caesar, not military tactics, not on war, not on love, nothing. What Xena is to those who watch it is Xena. 'Nuff said.
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and wrote letters and faxed and discussed the idea of censorship of art -- of all kinds of art -- into the wee hours for so long. It paid off. A total, comprehensive victory? No. But a victory? Yes.
For those of you in Australia, or any other country where Xena has been suddenly and inexplicably yanked from the airwaves, don't give up hope, and don't give up campaigns to bring it back. Sign the Protest Book below, and sign the petition, and send mail to Studios USA and Renaissance Pictures. And remember that there are many Xenites who can help you get the episodes on tape.
Ok, folks. Just because we got "The Way" back doesn't mean you shouldn't sign the Protest Book, sign the petition (if you've not already), read this page, or visit the other protest sites. Remember...
Sign the Petition
Sign the Protest Book
What's New on this Page
Articles from the Media
Please take a moment to sign the Protest Book and the Petition to Restore "The Way" to Syndication to let everyone out there know that censorship will not be tolerated.
"The Way" Advisor Answers Your Questions Dr. Ravi Palat, who served as advisor to Renaissance Pictures for "The Way", has agreed to use his expertise and knowledge to inform everyone what he thinks of the Hindu protest, Studios USA, religious fanatacism, and the fans' counter-protest.
A recent Xena episode, "The Way", was pulled from syndication by Studios USA days ago, and will not be re-aired in the future. Although some of the stations that air Xena say they have no intention of not airing whatever Xena episode comes down off their satellite feed, the decision of Studios USA stands. The episode was pulled after the politico-religious groups the World Vaishnava Association (WVA), with the American Hindus Against Defamation (AHAD), speaking for Hindus around the world, protested it for reasons stated in Rob Tapert's letter below, as well as the original letter of protest by Tusta Krishna das (also below).
This page is provided to you as a jumping-off point to learn more about "The Way", the protest that resulted in its banning, and the protest currently taking place by fans of Xena against censorship. It is being constantly updated. I will gladly include a link to your protest against censorship site (and you may link to mine). Email me at: email@example.com.
While a person's first reaction would be to lash out in anger at those responsible, this Way will not help your voice to be heard. It will only cause your email, snail mail, fax, or phone call to be disregarded and serve to heat the situation more than it already is. It is important that we stand up and make a voice for ourselves - it is equally important that that voice be a calm, authoritative, and rational voice, or else it will not be heard.
By most accounts floating around in the public Xena forums, this was not the decision of anyone at Renaissance Pictures to pull "The Way" from syndication. The blame seems to fall upon Studios USA, who recently purchased the rights to Xena and Hercules to begin running the two shows back to back in reruns, from Season I - onward. Studios USA is famous for top-quality programming in the USA, mainly centered around big-budget action/adventure shows like La Femme Nikita and The Net.
The decision, however, has been made, and there is no hope of change unless Xenites make themselves heard.
If you choose to write, fax, email, call, or snail mail your local affiliate that airs Xena, remember to be inquisitive but courteous, kind, and informative, but not angry, frustrated, or vindictive. Local affiliates may have had little if anything to do with the pulling of "The Way" - unless you live in a particularly large market like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or other similar area.
However, it is also possible that many of these large, highly-visible network affiliates were pressured from outside groups, and had few options after consulting with their colleagues and associates. The end result, no matter the means, is that "The Way" has been pulled from current and future airings. If you have seen the episode, and have it on tape, consider yourself lucky - there are people who missed the episode when it aired, and in countries around the globe yet to catch up to the American airing schedule, "The Way" will be possibly dropped altogether.
Write, email, fax, or call, Studios USA and tell them that you deeply disagree with their decision to censor Xena based on the vocalizations of a religious group - but remember to remain calm and courteous but also firm in your stance, or your correspondence will be disregarded.
Please note that the previous contacts, Ken Soloman and Barry Baker, interestingly enough, are no longer with StudiosUSA. The NEW President of Network Television is now David Kissinger.
Their physical address is:
President of Network Television, Studios USA
West Hollywood, CA 90069
fax: (310) 360-2666
Jim Benson, VP of Media and Relations
100 Universal City Plaza
Bldg. 500, 3rd Floor
Universal City Studios, CA 91068
fax: (818) 866-0380
fax2 (818) 866-0223
301 Parkway View Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
You can email USA Network directly, regarding their Hercules/Xena programming, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Universal Studios Feedback Form - This is the same form placed on an anti-Xena editorial written by Tusta Krishna das on the web located at: VINA.
Take a few minutes to write an email, or a letter, or fax these folks and let them know what you think!
There are hundreds of local, national, and international media addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses located at UltimateTV.
If you choose to write the world media, remember - they are not to blame for the pulling of the show. Writing the media would serve to publicize what exactly has gone on here, and what protests are now taking place among fans of the show.
This section is to provide background on the India-arc that led to "The Way", as well as events in "The Way".
"The Way", the third installment of a three-episode arc in which Xena and Gabrielle travel to India, is centered around the Hindu deities Hanuman, Krishna, and Indrajit, and the newly-realized avatar, Eli, a traveler from far away. Xena and Gabrielle meet and befriend Eli in the first installment. In the second installment, Xena and Gabrielle, on their further travels, are befriended by a woman who teaches them the spiritual body painting called Mendhi, which they use to help defeat an old enemy whose karma is linked with theirs. In the third installment, "The Way", Xena learns humility when Hanuman helps her to understand that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Xena puts aside her personal shortcomings and prays to Krishna for the strength to defeat Indrajit, the god who holds Gabrielle and Eli captive. Krishna appears to Xena and explains that she must find her own Way, and embrace it. Krishna gives Xena some advice:
Yes, you must not be hesitant to fight in a just cause. It is better to die following your own way than to live following someone else's. When you ride into combat, act without attachment and carry with you the confidence that you are fulfilling your calling in this life. Then you will know the way.
Hers is the way of the warrior. Krishna tells Xena that if Indrajit should overcome her in her battle, she can call his name and he will help her. Events unfold terribly for Xena during the fight against Indrajit, and Krishna transforms Xena into the likeness of the Hindu goddess Kali, the goddess of war, and Indrajit is defeated.
Perhaps right now we should all take heed of Krishna's message, along with Robert Taperts' directive - bigotry and intolerance must be fought... To those with an agenda of intolerance, this is not a victory.
I know that censorship is wrong. I also understand that the way the Greek gods have been portrayed in Xena and in Hercules is wrong. Together, both shows have explored religion with the abandon that they explore their own timelines, and though not always flattering, their representations are not blatantly meant as to be offensive to those who study these religions or peoples, or to those religions or peoples. They are just what they are, images of tales carved to fit into the writer's script.
Both Xena and Hercules fans have numerous debates daily on public forums about everything on the two shows, religion included. They debate because it's interesting, and they discuss because they want to know more. If anything, the portrayal of gods and goddesses (Celtic, Greek, Hindu), of lands (Britain, China, Italy), and of people (Caesar, Helen, Cleopatra) has been a catalyst for fans of the show, myself included, to find out the real truth of the matter.
It's a great loss when one accusative group can push around another, peaceful, group, and get away with it. And I do state that Xenites are a peaceful group, highly intelligent, and boldly creative, which makes the matter all the more frustrating. When the protest against "The Way" began, it was stated that the episode had not even been screened.
Currently, pirated copies of "The Way" are available for ten dollars a copy at Vaishnava News Network. This reselling of copywritten material in order to make a profit is indeed a violation of federal law, make no bones about it. The individual that posted the show for sale apparently is not completely with the Hindu platform against the show, and in fact supports Renaissance Pictures for what he believes is a positive portrayal of Lord Krishna (he even as uploaded Quicktime movies of the dialogue between Krishna and Xena). Nonetheless he stands to profit off of the millions of dollars lost (advertising, timeslot, production, etc. etc.) by Studios USA by voluntarily pulling "The Way" from its playlist.
Do not purchase a copy of the episode from him. Rather, it is quite easy to ask another Xenite to copy it for you, non-profit. Fans everyday deluge lists and newsgroups with pleas for copies of episodes they've missed, and in most cases, another fan will make the copy and send it to them, charging only for the cost of the tape and postage, or, if you luck out, they will simply send it free out of the kindness of their hearts.
So if selling pirated copies is illegal, is purchasing a copy from another fan illegal? Copyright laws are intense. But basically, no, not as long as (stated above) the person supplying you the episode isn't making a profit. It's the profit part that's illegal. The same goes for fanfic, and websites (though that is another matter, for another day).
A great place to post ads for needed Xena memorabilia is The Chakram Classifieds run by Venator, moderator of the Chakram mailing list.
If you would like to join Chakram, send an email to: email@example.com with only the words "subscribe chakram" (minus quotes) in the body of the email.
If you would like to join the Xenaverse mailing list, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with only the words "subsribe xenaverse" (minus quotes) in the body of the email.
If you have Usenet access, you can visit my links page for a list of Xena newsgroups.
If you don't have Usenet access, you can get it by joining Deja News. It's free, and takes only a couple of minutes to set it up.
Xenites Against Censorship (XAC) mailing list: send a blank email to email@example.com or go to: http://www.onelist.com/subscribe/xac
Note: If you are not a member of a Onelist, you will need to make a membership. This is free, and takes only a couple of minutes.
So why was "The Way" protested in the first place? Well, to find out, you must read three public editorials written by Tusta Krishna das, and an interview of Tusta Krishna das by the Vaishnava Internet News Agency (VINA).
As a sidenote, it might also be of interest to view the following post, by "TKD" (Tusta Krishna das, perhaps?), to the Usenet group soc.religion.hindu, in September of 1997: Hindu deities on Hercules TV show.
Communication to the Indian Community
Vaishnava Internet News Agency (VINA)
Xena's Message to the Viewers
Vaishnava News Network (VNN)
Xena After the Airing
Vaishnava Internet News Agency (VINA)
Interview of Tusta Krishna das:
Krishna and Xena Behind the Scenes
Vaishnava Internet News Agency (VINA)
Once you feel you have a grasp on the issue brought up in the aforementioned articles, read more of what Tusta Krishna das, and other Hindus, as well as Xena fans, and Hindus against the protest of Xena, posted about "The Way", homosexuality, tolerance, and Xena, at Vaishnava News Network News Desk (this page also contains the original Krishna das' editorial, "Xena's Message to the Viewers").
There is also an article from Krishna Software Newsletter March 1999, XENA-KRSNA: MODERN-AGE MAYAVADA!!!, which goes into detail about Krishna and how Xena apparently (although she's a fictional character) disrespects Krishna. Basically, it rehashes Tusta Krishna das' complaints.
Read Robert Tapert's official statement and apology issued on April 6, 1999 in response to the pulling of the episode and the reasons behind it.
Please see the What's New page to find out what's new.
Note that Kit has an extremely large section full of addresses, email, faxes, and phone numbers for not only Studios USA, but a large percentage of the visible world media.
Contains lists of (your local) tv affiliates for you to write for support, in the US and overseas.
Bubba's Guide to Xena: Warrior Princess
Xenites Against Censorship
Xenites Against Censorship
Support page for the Xenites Against Censorship mailing list; provides a point of reference for persons seeking information about the movement to combat censorship of Xena Warrior Princess.
The Nutbread Brigade
Stop the Censorship!
Censorship of Xena
Felioness' Protest Page
Who Is Next!
You are encouraged to sign the Protest
Book. Your signing will show those who
read that the effects of Studios USA's
decision reaches around the globe and
affects thousands of people. By
signing, you will also be allowed to
voice your opinion in a cohesive,
organized forum, and encourage others to
do so as well.
Sign The Protest Book |
View the Protest Book
Please sign the petition below.
Georgraphical location fields are
optional, but you are encouraged to use
at least part of your address. Please
use your real name (not your internet
handle). Full petitions will be sent,
hardcopy, to Studios USA. Your personal
information will not be viewed except by
those who will format the final copies
of the petition to send to Studios USA,
and by those at Studios USA who receive
Please note that this is simply a link
to the main petition site, and is not a
duplicate or additional petition.
Petition to Restore "The Way" to
Thanks to Rooks for the
Protest Censorship image. Grab one
for your page to show your solidarity!
Back to DarkWorrior's Xena Altar
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You are encouraged to sign the Protest Book. Your signing will show those who read that the effects of Studios USA's decision reaches around the globe and affects thousands of people. By signing, you will also be allowed to voice your opinion in a cohesive, organized forum, and encourage others to do so as well.
Sign The Protest Book | View the Protest Book
Please sign the petition below. Georgraphical location fields are optional, but you are encouraged to use at least part of your address. Please use your real name (not your internet handle). Full petitions will be sent, hardcopy, to Studios USA. Your personal information will not be viewed except by those who will format the final copies of the petition to send to Studios USA, and by those at Studios USA who receive it.
Please note that this is simply a link to the main petition site, and is not a duplicate or additional petition.
Petition to Restore "The Way" to Syndication
Thanks to Rooks for the Protest Censorship image. Grab one for your page to show your solidarity!