Bear Grylls’ PR Nightmare

Following allegations of deceiving his viewers on his show Man Vs Wild/Born Survivor, airing on Channel 4 in the UK and the Discovery Channel in North American, both networks are reviewing the upcoming shows. They have said in a press release that the upcoming shows and repeated shows will edited to include full disclosure. This is the reason why we haven’t seen anymore episodes.

This summer, Bear Grylls’ faced some allegations that he deceived his viewers; one of the core things about his show is that he is dropped into the wild with only a camera crew. However, it has since been reported that he spends nights at motels or hotels and that there are actually some fake elements in his shows, such as the bear attack in one episode and the raft on the Deserted Island episode, which was assembled by the crew.

From Reuters:

Discovery Channel is re-evaluating one of its most popular series, “Man vs. Wild,” after allegations surfaced that its survival-expert host was bunking in motels when he was supposed to be braving the great outdoors.

The network issued a statement Monday in response to an investigation launched by British television network Channel 4, which carries the program under the title “Born Survivor: Bear Grylls.” Channel 4 confirmed that host Bear Grylls had partaken of indoor accommodations on at least two occasions when his series had depicted him spending the night in the wild.

“Discovery Communications has learned that isolated elements of the ‘Man vs. Wild’ show in some episodes were not natural to the environment, and that for health and safety concerns the crew and host received some survival assistance while in the field,” the network said in a statement.

The production company behind the series, Diverse Television, is cooperating with the Channel 4 investigation, which likely will address a range of allegations that called into question “Wild’s” authenticity.

In each episode of the series, Grylls is airlifted into the wilderness with only a few tools to aid in his survival, such as a flint or water bottle. A former British special forces soldier, Grylls is typically depicted as subsisting for several days without intervention or interruption while cameramen follow him offscreen. He has been stranded all over the globe, including Utah’s Moab desert and the Costa Rican rain forest.

But among the charges made against Grylls is that a raft he is depicted as having built himself actually was constructed and then disassembled by consultants to the show in order for the host to put it together. In another episode, Grylls happens upon what are referred to as wild horses that were said to be brought in from a trekking station.

The brouhaha could become a PR nightmare for the channel, which in recent years has abandoned contrived unscripted formats in favor of the scientific explorations that first made the Discovery brand famous. “Wild” in particular has emerged as one of its main attractions during the past two seasons.

But the company gave no indication about parting ways with the series, only making certain unspecified alterations.

“Moving forward, the program will be 100% transparent and all elements of the filming will be explained upfront to our viewers,” Discovery said. “In addition, shows that are to be repeated will be edited appropriately. Bear Grylls is a world-class adventurer and a terrific talent.”

A spokeswoman for Discovery declined to elaborate on what exact measures will be taken to address the concerns raised about “Wild.”

Among the likely possibilities: a disclaimer that will precede each episode explaining that some of the events being depicted are dramatized.

On July 13, Grylls spoke at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour in Los Angeles about production of the series but gave little hint of any shenanigans behind the scenes. At one point, he described what it was like to bed down in the wild.

“Often at nighttime, they will get helicoptered out, and they might have to recharge camera batteries and hand in footage, and then they leave me a little minicamera for the night stuff, and they come and rejoin me in the morning,” he said.

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Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

2 thoughts on “Bear Grylls’ PR Nightmare”

  1. It doesn’t bother me. It’s an interesting and informative programme. To be honest, the fact that he has summited Everest and done several other impressive things with his life gives enough info to judge his character.

    There are many many people around the world in far more important positions who are lying and faking and actually causing suffering.

    It’s a TV show which is directed and produced in order to make money and give entertainment. Give him a break.

  2. I have to say that theres quite a few good arguments against Bear Grylls. Also maybe there are other people that are just as knowledgable as him in survival and the Great Outdoors. But why question what he does on TV?

    First of all, he is a cool guy that is amazing at motivating people into caring for the environment, and also keeping our inner instincts intact. He also knows so many cool little hints and tips; in other words he knows how to get this difficult to learn survival knowledge absorbable in the viewers minds.

    Without Bear Grylls, this world would be a harsher place. It is with truth that humans are losing whats left of our instincts and survival knowledge. The fact that leading poor diet and un healthy lifestyles is undoing what made us the top of the food chain in the first place.

    As we carry on through time, the poorer lifestyles we take is causing malfunctioning genes which carry on through our children to children. It just gets worse. Ok sure theres drugs to help us look nicer and feel better but anyone past 50 in the modern days will most likely have some problem with themselves, even some teenagers!! We must stop and look around. Get back in touch with our wild side. Explore and have fun. I sure would love to see the trees again instead of a horrible dirty stinking grey path in front of me every morning.

    This is what Bear Grylls is trying to get at, trying to make us realise. He knows that mankind is on the slippery slope to something terrible and so we really need to take down the corrupt businesses and processed foods and bring in the healthy option provided by good ol’ mother nature herself. Lets spend sometime in the trees and in the dirt. Lets use our brains to survive a wilderness even if just for a few hours! As long as we can be free once more then theres chance for Humanity to prosper the way God intended.

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