President Barack Obama has been making strides in addressing climate change, but his latest publicity effort to promote that agenda is not going over well with one advocacy group. Following NBC’s announcement that the 44th president will appear on an episode of “Running Wild With Bear Grylls,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a statement condemning his participation in the reality television show.
PETA referred to NBC’s “Running Wild,” featuring famous people on adventures with wilderness/survival expert Bear Grylls, as “sexist” and “speciesist.” “Grylls' shows are known as the bottom of the barrel in demeaning sexist, speciesist, and who knows what other "-ist" TV reality shows -- and that's certainly saying something,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote in a statement Monday.
Obama’s participation in the show is part of his itinerary on his three-day trip to Alaska, in which the president will speak at a climate change conference and also speak with Alaska Natives. NBC wrote in its announcement Monday morning, “President Obama will meet with Grylls while visiting Alaska to observe the effects of climate change on the area. The two will then come together in the Alaskan wilderness.”
But while PETA acknowledged the climate change initiatives Obama has been pursuing, the organization wrote that it did not believe “Running Wild” was the most appropriate venue for Obama to advance his agenda. PETA referred to the show as an “internationally condemned program” and cited instances where female guests had been “bullied into slitting a baby pig’s throat and eating a mouse soaked in urine.”
— PETA (@peta) May 13, 2015
The pig-slaughtering episode premiered in May 2015 and featured four women approaching a sleeping pig and killing it with a knife, the Guardian reported. That episode received more than 3 million viewers. But PETA condemned the act as a “cruel way to attempt to boost ratings,” the Guardian notes.
“An important part of the experiment was to find out if the men and women were capable of surviving alone and able to find sources of food, including hunting and killing for meat, a vital part of their survival as it is a source of valuable calories and protein,” NBC’s Channel 4 network said in defense of the airing to The Guardian. “All islanders were trained in the humane capture and dispatch of live animals, and the animals were killed humanely."
It is unclear what acts Obama will be participating in. A petition was made shortly after the announcement for Obama to drink his own urine, as Bear Grylls has done on the show. The petition has since garnered nearly 100,000 signatures. But regardless of what exact activities Obama will be participating in, PETA referred to the show as the “last place” he should be seen.
“[‘Running Wild’] is the last place for the 44th president to be seen. There are far better ways to get the message about global climate change out than by appearing on this disgusting show,” Newkirk wrote in a statement.
Obama’s episode of “Running Wild” is scheduled to air later this year, NBC said.