By Chris Dolnack, National Shooting Sports Foundation
Outdoor TV producer and host Melissa Bachman has been forced off the upcoming National Geographic Channel reality series “Ultimate Survivor Alaska,” the cable channel announced on Friday. What’s the reason? Well, it’s because Melissa is a hunter.
The channel said that Ms. Bachman will no longer be a participant in the new series after an online petition started by Tim Martell, a Florida resident, protesting her involvement went viral and it received more than 13,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
Protests and threatened boycotts are nothing new. But things happen very fast these days, thanks to the instant clout of social media and the fact that corporate executives are quick to surrender to noisy internet rebellions for fear of having the online wrath transferred directly onto them.
After Nat Geo’s decision was announced, the hunting community soon began making its own voice heard.Field & Stream weighed in, pointing out the absurdity of a show dealing with survival in Alaska that somehow doesn’t include hunting.
Melissa grew up hunting with her family in Minnesota. After earning her college degree, she became a producer for the “North American Hunter” program. She has traveled the world working on hunting shows and spends much of her free time in the field. Some have criticized her for not being a real hunter. This is off-base. She is the real deal and the successful effort to get her off this show was, in a sense, an attack on all who enjoy the sport and understand the significant contribution hunters make toward conservation.
The odds of getting Melissa Bachman back on “Ultimate Survivor Alaska” may not be great and one has to question how much reality could there be in this reality show. Still, we encourage hunters and those in our industry to make their voices heard. Contact the National Geographic Channel at [email protected] and let them know what you think. Why be quiet?
No matter what, we’re very sure that we have not heard the last of Melissa Bachman. Maybe this outburst and preemptive censorship will become the basis for her to play a starring role in a new and far better cable television program.