UPDATE: Discovery Channel this morning declined to comment on PETA’s statement this morning about last night’s Eaten Alive. But the network just issued a statement addressing people’s disappointment about show star Paul Rosolie’s failure to get, you know, eaten alive.
“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,” the network said. “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.”
PREVIOUS, 7:30 AM: While Twitter continued to throw a tantrum over Paul Rosolie’s failure to be swallowed by his captive anaconda on Discovery Channel’s highly hyped Eaten Alive last night, PETA this morning expressed outrage over the the snake abuse:
“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 a captured wild green anaconda and several other snakes,” PETA SVP Lisa Lange said this morning.
“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,” she continued.
“Under natural conditions, anacondas go weeks and even months between meals, eating only when necessary for survival and expending the tremendous amount of energy required to attack, constrict, and consume large prey only when the payoff outweighs the risk. Paul Rosolie and his crew put this snake through undeniable stress and robbed her of essential bodily resources. She was forced to constrict and then not allowed to eat.
“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.”
Discovery Channel declined to comment.
Twitter, meanwhile, began foaming over last night during the two-hour special, when it became clear Rosolie would not be consumed — even to the teensiest degree — by the snake. Rosalie got hugged in a big way instead. When the snake’s attempt to constrict Rosolie in order to get him down the hatch, proved too much for one of Rosolie’s lower arms, he bailed. Rosalie caused the problem when he insisted on taking off the lower-arm section of his special crush-proof suit for mobility sake. Among the protests:
Last month, Discovery and Paul Rosolie had asked the media to swallow a whopper — Rosolie would attempt to be eaten alive by an anaconda, for all the anacondas out there who have no voice. Some press bit. In Eaten Alive, Rosolie said, he would attempt to be swallowed by a 25-to-27-foot anaconda “that slipped through his hands and nearly dragged him to the bottom of the floating forest” that happened “on his one and only previous expedition to this secluded part of the Amazonian jungle.” But one hour and 40 minutes into the two-hour special, Rosolie had failed entirely to capture that anaconda, and they instead had to use some understudy welterweight anaconda they had lying around because, Rosolie explained, he was still intent upon getting crushed and swallowed by an anaconda, for the sake of the snakes.
While failing to produce much drama, the special did cough up some great anaconda-theme ads, including a Man Up Moment repeat of a moment during the special in which Rosolie dives into the water in pursuit of a snake — brought to you by Every Kiss Begins with Kay Jewelers — as well as an ad mocking the show while plugging an online contact lens store. That company nicked the show again in its own tweet after the telecast was over, snarking