Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cicada Films accused of recklessness, bringing death to their tribal 'stars'

Reality Shows can be dangerous to one's health. The Times of London's Alexi Mostrous reports how a television crew shrugged off warnings that their random sneezes were a potential kiss of death to four member of a remote Peruvian tribe, all but one mere children. This is feral beastliness in the extreme.

Amazonian tribes have called for film and television crews to be banned from their territories after a British production company was accused of starting a flu epidemic that killed four members of a remote Indian people.

Indigenous communities blamed a researcher from Cicada Films, based in London, for infecting members of the isolated Matsigenka tribe while scouting for a reality television show called World’s Lost Tribes.

Four members of the Matsigenka are thought to have died, three of them children. The Native Federation of River Madre de Dios and Subsidiaries, which represents local tribes, called for film crews to be banned.

In a statement, Cicada said it “emphatically denied” that its staff had done anything wrong. “When we arrived we found local people already ill with symptoms and signs of respiratory disease,” a spokesman said. “The researcher and his guide did not visit the area where the deaths are said to have occurred and no deaths occurred amongst the individuals they met.”

Glenn Shephard, a US anthropologist who has studied the Matsigenka for 20 years, said: “I warned [Cicada] specifically that their visit to the isolated villages of the Cumerjali could pose a health risk to the people.”

The Matsigenka tribe, who traded with the Incas 500 years ago, are spread out across southeastern Peru.
Here's the logo of the unfortunate film company, based in London.

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