Aslan and the film crew then ran away when the guru hurls his feces at them.
Some viewers expressed their anger via social media.
The first episode depicted Aslan drinking from a human skull, eating a piece of human brain while being splashed with cremation ashes as part of the exploration of the Aghori sect of the Hindu religion.
“It is unbelievably callous and reckless of CNN to be pushing sensational and grotesque images of bearded brown men and their morbid and deathly religion at a time when the United States is living through a period of unprecedented concern and fear,” Vamsee Juluri, a media studies professor at the University of San Francisco, said in a piece in the Huffington Post.
Reza Aslan in a scene from ‘Believer with Reza Aslan’. (Screengrab)
— Shalabh Kumar (@iamshalabhkumar) March 5, 2017
Change text size for the story
— Rajiv Pandit (@rajiv_pandit) March 6, 2017
A CNN host is getting flack for showcasing cannibalism in his new series, which premiered on Sunday.
Print this story
“So far your show is just sensationalism spiced with arrogance,” tweeted another user.
“I condemn @rezaslan, CNN for airing Believer with fiction,” wrote one disgusted Twitter user.
“Want to know what a dead guy’s brain tastes like? Charcoal,” Aslan wrote on Facebook. “It was burnt to a crisp.”
Disgusting attack on Hindus for supporting @POTUS @stephenkbannon @newtgingrich I condemn @rezaaslan, CNN for airing Believer with fiction.
Report an error
Things turn bizarre after a guru in the sect urinates and defecates on camera, then consumes his excrement while exclaiming his faith, according to RollingOut.
The debut episode has drawn outrage over exploration of a taboo issue. In Believer with Reza Aslan, the titular host gives viewers a glimpse of different cultures, rites and rituals from around the world.
The main focus of ‘Believer’ is to demystify lesser known faiths and find a common ground that makes everyone a believer in something.
The Aghori are a sect of Hinduism that are known to engage in postmortem rituals such as cannibalism.
Some questioned whether focusing on the cannibalistic rituals was just done for shock value.
‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ this show is not.
When responding to a Twitter user who questioned the interpretation of Hinduism, Aslan fired back, stating the show was specifically about Aghori and not Hinduism.
Aslan admitted on Facebook he was turned off “by these Aghori theatrics.”
So far your show is just sensationalism spiced with arrogance @rezaaslan #believer