Last month, author and outdoorsman Paul Rosolie promised he would attempt to be eaten alive by an anaconda for a Discovery Channel special appropriately titled “Eaten Alive.”
Now, after Discovery aired the special Sunday night and Rosolie did not manage to get himself eaten by the giant snake, the channel’s viewers and the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are up in arms, albeit over separate issues.
PETA issued a statement condemning the show after it aired Sunday night, with SVP Lisa Lange calling the special a “shameful stunt for ratings.”
Last night, despite protests by conservationists, biologists, herpetologists, and decent people everywhere who oppose the abuse of wildlife, the Discovery Channel aired the inexcusable torment of captured wild green anaconda and several other snakes.
The animals were removed from their water habitat and transported to a filming location, and the chosen snake was deceived into using her precious energy reserves to constrict a human being pretending to be a pig, all for a publicity stunt…
Study after study has shown that entertainment features such as this one that show humans interfering with and handling wild animals are detrimental to species conservation. Rosolie knows this. Discovery knows this. Yet they chose to contrive and air this shameful stunt for ratings anyway.
Viewers, meanwhile, were more upset that Rosolie was not actually eaten by the snake as promised.
— BarstoolTrent (@BarstoolTrent) December 8, 2014
Geraldo prob just watched #EatenAlive and high-fived himself. His “Al Capone’s vault” special is no longer the biggest letdown in TV history
— Harrison Golden (@harrisongolden) December 8, 2014
According to Deadline Hollywood, Rosolie failed to capture the anaconda he wanted after an hour and 40 minutes of the special had already elapsed, so the production used “some understudy welterweight anaconda they had lying around.”
Yet Rosolie still failed to be eaten in any way by the snake. According to Deadline, Rosolie complained that the pressure of the snake’s constriction on his lower arm was too much, and called off the stunt. Ironically, it was Rosolie himself who suggested taking off the lower-arm portion of his constriction-proof suit to allow for greater mobility during the show.
Discovery Channel issued a statement early Monday morning to address frustrated viewers, although they did not comment on PETA’s condemnation:
Paul created this challenge to get maximum attention for one of the most beautiful and threatened parts of the world, the Amazon Rainforest and its wildlife. He went to great lengths to send this message and it was his absolute intention to be eaten alive.
Ultimately, after the snake constricted Paul for over an hour and went for his head, the experiment had to be called when it became clear that Paul would be very seriously injured if he continued on. The safety of Paul, as well as the anaconda, was always our number one priority.