UPDATED — A pre-inauguration brouhaha has erupted between HBO and the Obama Inauguration team. As we reported previously, HBO says that it was the Inauguration team who scheduled the openly gay bishop before the live concert broadcast, but this afternoon, HBO, the Obama Team and Gene Robinson all weighed in, with blame and confusion being tossed about from all sides.
Presidential Inauguration Committee communications director Josh Earnest shoots back:
â€œWe had always intended and planned for Rt. Rev. Robinsonâ€™s invocation to be included in the televised portion of yesterdayâ€™s program. We regret the error in executing this plan â€“ but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heard his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event.â€
But HBO is not having it, and a spokesperson replied:
“It was not an HBO omission. We merely televised the show beginning at 2:30pm. Had the PIC told us upfront that this was to be part of the telecast, it would have been.”
For his part, Bishop Robinson is just as perplexed as you, telling NPR:
“I know very little about it,” said Robinson before telling host Neal Conan how he learned the news: “I had a delightful day meeting all the other participants in the program. … A little later in the morning I happened to see a schedule,” and it showed him giving the invocation at 2:25 and HBO cameras going live at 2:30 p.m.
Robinson said he had “no idea” why it was scheduled this way but postulated, “The fact of the matter is HBO is an entertainment station and perhaps an executive at HBO thought, ‘Well, who would possibly be interested in a prayer? People are tuning in to see Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder.’”
Ha. Ha. Gay equality got lost in the paperwork shuffle.
Update: Both HBO and Obama are v. v. sorry and will do their best to mend fences. HBO is adding the Robinson invocation to its re-broadcast of We Are One, which will air on screens along the Mall in D.C. as crowds gather for the official inauguration, reports TV Barn. All future broadcasts of We Are One will also include Robinson.