Reality Series Accused Of Faking Scenes And Misrepresenting Amazon Tribe As ‘Sex-Obsessed Savages’

A reality series that aired in the U.K. on the BBC and in the U.S. on the Travel Channel faces charges producers faked scenes and deliberately mistranslated interviews in an attempt to portray members of an Amazonian tribe as “sex-obsessed, mean savages.” The charges, reported today in The Guardian, involve a six part series called Mark & Olly: Living with the Machigenga, which was shot in the Amazon rainforest. According to the Guardian, “the show has been called “staged, false, fabricated and distorted” by Dr Glenn Shepard, an anthropologist who has worked with the tribe for 25 years and speaks their language fluently, and Ron Snell, who grew up with the tribe as the son of US missionaries and also speaks their language.”

The BBC has said it will not air the show again after Dr. Shepard described the show as an example of reality TV “reaching new depths of irresponsibility.”

“I am shocked by Mark & Olly’s narcissistic antics, their gross misrepresentations of Matsigenka culture, and their disregard for consequences inflicted on native communities,” said Shepard. “I wonder what Living with the Machigenga was modelled on. Borat comes to mind.”

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