Friday, February 15, 2013

Reality TV show starring Pistorius' slain girlfriend will be broadcast this Saturday as scheduled

A South African television network will not postpone the reality show Tropika Island of Treasure 5 from its  planned broadcast on Saturday Feb. 16 — just two days after the tragic death of model and contestant Reeva Steenkamp — who was shot by her boyfriend Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius.

The SABC says the first episode of the of the show will go ahead even after Pistorius has been charged with murder of the vibrant 30-year-old woman.

On Valentine's day, the legless Pistorius, 26 — better known as "Blade Runner" for his carbon-fiber legs in track and field circles — was charged with shooting Steenkamp four times in his South African home after claiming he mistook the internationally known model as an intruder. He was later charged with murder.

A statement released by Samantha Moon, creator and executive producer of the Tropika series said:

As we grieve today with Reeva's family & friends and struggle to make sense of this shocking tragedy, it has taken much deliberation to come to the decision to continue screening Tropika Island of Treasure 5 as planned. 

Reeva was an intelligent, beautiful and amazing woman, and we feel it would be an injustice to keep that unknown from those who did not know her personally. Every episode that she is in, every frame that she so ably dominates- shines with her light and her laughter echoes in every conversation, and we want to share these special memories with the rest of South Africa. 

In honour of Reeva's vibrant life and the time we were blessed to spend with her, this week's episode will be dedicated to Reeva's memory, coupled with a special tribute to her on Real Goboza (RGB) at 6pm prior to the first episode of Tropika Island of Treasure 5 on SABC 1 on Saturday, 16 February 2013, at 6:30pm.

This comes after other South African television stations immediately pulled all Pistorius TV ads and promos. Yesterday, Nike yanked the sprinter's regrettable "I am the bullet in the chamber" ads.

The reality show is a South African competition in which celebrities and ordinary people compete in remote, exotic locations for a chance to win a 1-million Rand prize (about $100,000). This is the fifth season.

It's hard to call broadcasting the show in the wake of a contestant's alleged murder morbid or tasteless without pointing a finger at ourselves. After all, we watch movies and music videos with murdered and dead stars all the time and label them tributes.

This time it just seems like a real case of "too soon?"

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