CBS’s executive producer for the television series Hawaii Five-O, Peter Lenkov, issued an apology on Tuesday, December 14, 2011, on behalf of the Hawaii Five-0 production unit, to “veterans and members of the Greatest Generation Foundation whom we unintentionally offended when our events coincided.”
He was referring to an incident last week that occurred when the production was filming a scene at the cemetery in which Commander McGarrett visits his father’s grave at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at the same time a memorial service for Pearl Harbor’s World War II veterans was being held nearby.
Steffan Tubbs, a morning news co-host in Denver, and a board member with The Greatest Generations Foundation, said the crew was rude and disrespectful to 23 World War II veterans who attended a ceremony and visited the sacred cemetery while they were filming. Production assistants shushed and rushed the WWII veterans as they laid red roses at their friends’ gravesites and continued to work during the national anthem, taps and during the ceremony. His piece is reprinted in its entirety with permission in Hawaii Reporter.
After apologizing, Lenkov said: “Our production crew is 80% staffed with local Hawaiians, many with ties to the military. We recognize the privilege of filming in Hawaii and we are acutely aware of the deserved respect for its culture, history and the reverence that should be afforded to all of our veterans, particularly those who served so nobly in Hawaii and at Pearl Harbor. Furthermore, the series we produce carries a demonstrative pro-military message.
“Contrary to some reports, to show respect, our crew did cease production for the playing of the national anthem, taps and for the remainder of the ceremony. When we resumed filming, we did encounter visitors from the ceremony. Any rudeness by our staff can only be attributed to haste to finish our work, not a lack of respect for men and women who have served and sacrificed for their country. And for that, too, we sincerely apologize to any that were offended.”
While Hawaii Five-O, a rendition of a 1960s and 70s detective show, is followed by many fans in the islands, there were a number of callers to local KHVH News Radio 830 AM who were outraged by the news, some pledging not to watch the show any longer. Others were upset that the production was permitted to film at the sacred site.