More than a month after Paul Rosolie failed to get eaten alive by an 18-foot anaconda on the Discovery Channel "Eaten Alive" special, Discovery Channel President Rich Ross admitted that the show's promotion was "misleading."
Ross addressed the special on Thursday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, saying that while the show had good intentions, it had "a packaging that was misleading."
Rosolie, a naturalist, author and filmmaker, wore a special carbon fiber suit and oxygen supplying helmet while antagonizing an anaconda in the Amazon with the intention of being eaten alive for the special that first aired Dec. 7. But after a couple hours, Rosolie had his team run in and rescue him after the snake swallowed his head and he feared his arm would soon be broken.
Viewers later took to social media to express frustration.
The animal rights group PETA also expressed outrage.“Shame on this pseudo ‘wildlife expert' for tormenting this animal and shame on the Discovery Channel for giving him the incentive to do so,” PETA said in a statement.
Discovery initially supported the special, saying in a statement to ABC, "Paul created this challenge to get maximum attention for one of the most beautiful and threatened parts of the world, the Amazon rain forest and its wildlife. He went to great lengths to send this message and it was his absolute intention to be eaten alive. 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."
Regarding a possible sequel to the special, Ross said on Thursday, "I don’t believe you’ll be seeing a person being eaten by a snake in my time [at Discovery].”