I recently heard about the tragedies befalling the French version of the hit reality show Survivor. And although this is a great tragedy, my first thought was “Wait, there’s a French Survivor? I must have been living under a rock!”
First the facts: Gerald Babin, age 25 (and quite the looker too), was a contestant on “Koh-Lantah,” which is the 2nd highest rated show on the French station TF1. They were filming this season in Cambodia when Babin complained of cramps during a game of tug of war. He was treated on site and flown via helicopter to a local hospital. Babin was declared dead upon arrival. The station has since decided to cancel this current season and has flown the remaining contestants back to France.
But then the plot thickens. After the French media accused Adventure Line Productions and the medical staff of negligence, Dr. Thierry Costa, a doctor on staff of “Koh-Lantah,” took his own life. He left a note which he demanded be released to the public, which stated, “These last few days my name has been smeared in the media. Unjust accusations and assumptions were uttered against me […] Having to rebuild this destroyed reputation seems unbearable to me, so this is my only possible choice.”
This is not the first tragedy to befall the Survivor series. In 2009, a 53-year-old contestant on the Bulgarian version of the show died of a heart attack during filming in the Philippines. But this is the first time that someone on staff has been so ashamed of what has happened that he felt like he couldn’t even return to his homeland. And although I feel that the media is a large source of bullying, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
When the story first broke, I thought that this might just be an accident or a misunderstanding. Maybe Babin had some rare heart defect that they can’t test for in an initial medical exam and his death was just one strenuous workout away. Or maybe producers saw Babin’s attacks as an annoyance that would shut down a costly production.
Just goes to show what is more important in this day and age: the almighty dollar. Babin’s death is untimely and unfortunate, but I really feel for this doctor as well. What in the WORLD happened there? Was his salary so ginormously huge that producers could tell him when, where, and how to treat his patients? Or did he try his darndest to get this man the medical attention he needed, only to be brutally rebuffed? Listen dude, I know you’re a proud Frenchman and everything, but taking your own life is beyond serious. Something huge had to have happened. I’m just waiting for the opinion of the rest of the cast and crew… BUT I’m not holding my breath. They’ve probably been nicely rewarded for keeping their mouths le-zipped. Sigh, I guess I’ll have to wait for the Lifetime movie.