Poverty porn: BBC slammed for 'Hunger Games-style’ reality show
While the BBC has called the program a “serious social experiment,” critics have branded it “poverty porn.”
Opponents have also likened the concept to the book and blockbuster movie series ‘The Hunger Games’, in which young people are forced to fight to the death by a fascistic government which rules over a post-apocalyptic world.
I can recall an occasion when the BBC sunk lower than this for ratings. I won't repeat it. But this is pretty bad http://t.co/JshwBbBPOn
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) May 28, 2015
Participants will be a mixture of underemployed, unemployed and minimum wages workers who will be required to compete over the course of the series, with the least effective workers eliminated each week.
Activists have launched a Change.org petition to resist the show’s production.
“This is the next rung down the ladder in the disturbing trend of voyeuristic ‘poverty porn’ made popular in programs like ‘Benefits Street’,” the petition reads.
“Unemployment and poverty are serious social issues and should not be the subject of a cheap game show format, designed to exploit some of the most impoverished in our society for the purposes of dubious ‘entertainment’.
— Gerry Hassan (@GerryHassan) May 27, 2015
“Not even the cheapest and tackiest of the cable or satellite channels have stooped to this level. We believe a higher standard should be expected from the BBC, a national broadcaster that is funded by public subscription in the form of the license fee.”
In a joint statement the BBC and Twenty Twenty, the film company involved, said “Britain’s Hardest Grafter is a serious social experiment for BBC2 which investigates just how hard people in the low wage economy work.
“Each week the contributors – who are all in work or actively looking – will experience a different ‘blue collar’ role as the series explores the truth about Britain’s work ethic. Throughout the series, the contributors are rewarded for the work they do.”