Study Alleges Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ Is Biased Against Sharks, Women

This is not a picture of the shark in the story. [Screenshot/YouTube/Free Documentary]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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A study found that the Discovery Channel, particularly its hit series “Shark Week,” allegedly promotes negatively biased messages against sharks and women.

The study, published by the Public Library of Science, said that the channel produces negative messages about sharks and disproportionately features white male experts. Arizona State University’s David Shiffman, a co-author of the study, said the channel particularly features more white men named “Mike” than women, according to The Washington Post.

“When there are hundreds of people of color interested who work in this field, [and] when my field is more than half women, maybe it’s not an accident anymore that they’re only featuring White men,” Shiffman reportedly said.

The program’s popular program, “Shark Week,” drew criticism from scientists and TV critics in 2020 for featuring a majority of white men as experts, The Post reported. The study found that 90 out of the 229 experts featured throughout the history of “Shark Week” were white and 78% were men. (RELATED: Discovery’s ‘Revival Survival’ Is No Brainer PR Move)

TOPSHOT - French plastic artist, Sam Dougados, draws a 50 meters shark with only a rake in the sans while people watch him, on the "Cote des Basques" beach, during the Discovery Channel Shark Week, in Biarritz, on July 17, 2019. - The artist calls this field Beach Art as compared to Street Art. (Photo by IROZ GAIZKA / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo credit should read IROZ GAIZKA/AFP via Getty Images)

(IROZ GAIZKA/AFP via Getty Images)

“Shark Week” episodes also feature more shark attacks than positive messaging about the sea creatures, the study said. The study also criticized “Shark Week” for allegedly lacking information about conservation issues.

Carlee Bohannon, a marine biologist and co-founder of Minorities in Shark Sciences, and biology professor Lisa Whitenack, warned that a lack of diversity will lead less people to enter the field, The Post reported.

“Diversity in people brings diversity in thought, which ultimately brings innovation,” Bohannon said. “Being able to see someone who looks like you in this field really has an impact.”

Discovery did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on the study.