"House of Cards," Netflix's popular political thriller starring Kevin Spacey, was denied its request to film two episodes in the U.N. Security Council this week after Russia's delegation motioned against it.
According to emails between a Russian diplomat and members of the council obtained by Foreign Policy magazine
, the Russians were concerned that the chamber needed to be kept available for unanticipated crises.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's office recommended that the 15-nation council chamber in Manhattan be used for filming during off-hours to raise public awareness about the organization.
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"The U.N. Department of Public Information is of the view that cooperating with the production would provide an excellent opportunity to raise awareness among a large audience around the world regarding the world of the Security Council, and of the organization in general," British diplomat Michael Tatham wrote Thursday to council members, including those of the China, France, and Russia.
Tatham emphasized that the U.N.'s public affairs office "has reviewed the scripts for these episodes and judged them to be appropriate."
Russian diplomat Mikael Agasandyan responded a half-hour before Tatham's Tuesday deadline, stating, "Upon thorough reflection, we are objecting to the proposed filming in the Security Council. We are of [the] opinion that the Security Council premises should be available at any time and on short notice. Besides that, we consistently insist that the Security Council premises are not an appropriate place for filming, staging, etc."
Bo Shen, a political counsellor for the Chinese, agreed. "I think Mikael's argument is reasonable," he wrote.
The council has previously allowed photographer Annie Leibovitz to shoot then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice for Vogue magazine, as well as the filming of a French diplomatic comedy, "Quai D'Orsay." It has also allowed Norway to do some filming there after initially blocking its request, giving hope to some fans of the show that the council might ultimately relent for "House of Cards" too.
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