Sportsman Channel has unlocked and unloaded its hunting program The Syndicate after news that its host has been charged in a federal poaching investigation. The cable net suspended the series, aka Syndicate Hunting, effective immediately pending an internal probe.
“Sportsman Channel is aware of the charges leveled yesterday in Alaska against Syndicate Hunting and is conducting an internal investigation of this matter,” said Jim Liberatore, CEO and President of Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks. “We take this situation very seriously and have acted swiftly to suspend the show, its producers and talent. Our networks stand for ethical practices in hunting and we will continue to adhere to this rule.”
Host Clark W. Dixon is among 10 people named in the probe of illegal hunting in Alaska’s Noatak National Reserve. He faces two felony counts in U.S. District Court in Fairbanks of violating the Lacey Act, a 115-year-old law that prohibits trade in wildlife, fish and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold.
Prosecutors allege that two dozen grizzly bears, moose, caribou and Dall sheep were killed illegally in reserve near Alaska’s northwestern coast and the kills were shown on the program, according to the Associated Press.
Liberatore noted that The Syndicate is produced independently and buys its airtime on Sportsman Channel.
Reno, NV-based company Syndicate Hunting said in a statement: “It is unfortunate that the Sportsman Channel has determined that at this time they must remove Syndicate Hunting from their programming lineup, while disheartened we respect their decision to do so. … Some media outlets have reported that Syndicate Hunting was also charged following the poaching investigation. This is inaccurate. Neither Syndicate Hunting, or Mike Dianda were charged with poaching violations or crimes. Syndicate Hunting was cited for ‘filming and airing footage without obtaining’ the proper permit.”