Al Jazeera America has been forced to halt production of a special episode of its popular sci-fi series Halo after a petition to the cable channel garnered over 100,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
The petition, which was launched by US rights holders, said the episode would be “unnecessary, harmful and inappropriate”.
“We are extremely disappointed that this episode of ‘HALO’ would be broadcast to the general public,” the petition said.
“We urge Al Jazeera to remove this episode from the air and cancel this production contract.”
The special episode is slated to air on April 25.
The move comes after the petition received over 100.000 signatures on its petition site.
The US rights holder said it had “a long-standing agreement” with Al Jazeera for the show to air.
“Al Jazeera has a long-term agreement with the company and it will be up to Al Jazeera if it wishes to continue to air the special episode in the future,” said the representative of the American rights holders.
Al Jazeera said it did not comment on its contractual relationship with rights holders and that the episode was being produced by an independent production company.
“As we understand it, there are many people who feel that this is an inappropriate use of their time and money,” the representative added.
“But, we hope that this will be resolved with Al Arabiya in the near future.”
The petition has garnered attention online with some commentators claiming the episode has caused “fear, confusion and a backlash against the American government”.
“The only reason for the delay is that the petitioners have not taken action against the government of Qatar and the Qataris themselves,” wrote one commentator.
The special “Halo” episode will be shown to audiences across the world on April 26.