NBC is denying Martin Sheen’s claim that the network attempted to prevent its “West Wing” president from filming an anti-war commercial, the Associated Press reports.
Sheen, 62, told the Los Angeles Times that top NBC executives “let it be known they’re very uncomfortable with where I’m at” on the standoff with Iraq.
But NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks, speaking to AP, says Sheen “was an activist long before he went on ‘The West Wing,'” and the actor’s political views “have never been an issue.”
Furthermore, she knows of “no concern among top management at NBC regarding Mr. Sheen’s stand against the war or fear that it could impact the show.”
Sheen, who plays fictional U.S. President Josiah Bartlet on the NBC series and has been a vocal opponent of President Bush’s plan to attack Iraq, helped lead a “Virtual March on Washington” last week that flooded the White House with thousands of anti-war e-mails.
Sheen implored in the ad: “Don’t invade Iraq. Inspections work. War won’t.”
Sheen’s message, meanwhile, has prompted a rebuttal from another NBC actor, “Law & Order” cast member and former Republican Sen. Fred Thompson, who says he’s shooting a TV ad in support of the Bush administration’s contingency Iraq war plans, AP reports.
“Thank goodness we have a president with the courage to protect our country,” Thompson, 60, reportedly will say in the ad. “What should we do with the inevitable prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of a murderous and aggressive enemy? Can we afford to appease Saddam?”