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The Globe and Mail

Choice of Pamela Anderson to play Virgin Mary prompts outrage, bemusement

Russell Peters as Joseph and Pamela Anderson as Mary in a scene from CTV's "A Russell Peters Christmas"


Fading Canadian sexpot Pamela Anderson has been tapped by stand-up comedian Russell Peters to play the Virgin Mary in an upcoming Christmas special – a development that's busted out all over the U.S. and international media but been strangely ignored here.

The 44-year-old Vancouver native – known for her sex tapes, teensy red bathing suit on Baywatch and the short-lived series Stacked – will play Jesus's mother opposite Russell's Joseph in a mock manger scene in the comedy sketch TV show A Russell Peters Christmas Special, which will air on CTV and the Comedy Network.

News outlets in the U.S. leapt on the story this week, reacting with a mixture of astonishment and outrage. "Pammy's a Born-Again Virgin" was the cheeky headline of Australia's Herald Sun. "Pamela Anderson in the role she was born to play: The Virgin Mary," wrote the Washington Post in its blog.

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"It's a Miracle, Pammy's the Virgin Mary," shrieked London's Daily Star, whose lead was "It's Praywatch as Pamela Anderson prepares for her most out-of-character role yet – the Virgin Mary."

The New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Fox News and Perez Hilton were among the many other outlets to cover the story.

Not surprisingly, the religious right were less amused. The Boston Liberal Christian Examiner chimed in: "Pamela Anderson to play Virgin Mary in Christmas special. Now, that's stretching the Spandex a bit.

"How low can popular culture go in ridiculing and disrespecting the Christian faith?" the article also said.

The U.S.-based Christian Post also reacted to the news, predicting a backlash from the Christian community – something that surely would delight the Brampton, Ont.-bred Peters, who has built a multimillion-dollar career by stirring the multicultural pot.

Anderson, a Playboy Playmate and star of two leaked sex tapes (with former husband Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and Poison front man Bret Michaels) has stayed silent about her heavenly role in the Peter's special, which also includes her fellow Vancouverite Michael Bublé and comedian Jon Lovitz.

CTV described the special as Peters' "irreverent twist" on the Christmas special. It airs Dec. 1 on CTV and Dec. 10 on the Comedy Network.

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