MTV Cuts Down Rainforest for Reality TV Show

Look out, Panama!After the Viacom-owned network finished filming their new treasure-hunt themed “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” on a remote, uninhabited island in the Republic of Panama, locals returned to find their beach tattered and abused.

The television show, which premieres on September 17th, took over the neighboring, inhabited island in militant style by hiring the local police to prevent residents from accessing a public beach. As it turned out, according to local witnesses, MTV had cleared a small patch of rainforest to build a tiki-hut structure near the beach, developed an access road through the forest, and installed generators and lighting on the beach.[social_buttons]

Since the beach was guarded by armed officers, the locals only heard rumors of the destruction until they were able to go back to the beach after filming had finished. “I have seen the aftermath of a tornado and this was almost as bad,” read the account, written by Jmaher and Michael Drake. “A large plot of rainforest had been cleared, a pristine Caribbean beach had been trashed, and the creators had simply packed up and left. A family of what appeared to be β€˜squatters’ had already moved into one of the buildings left behind.”

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At the time of the writing, MTV had not yet announced the premiere of the television show. The authors deduced that the network had been behind the commotion after finding papers with MTV’s logo among other garbage littering small village’s the streets. The nearby uninhabited island (which the show’s contestants ravaged for hidden treasure) had not been visited by the writers, so we’ll have to watch the show to see how that island fared. All this comes after MTV’s recent efforts to encourage teens to go green.

“Perhaps I have been unjustified in my criticism and, if so, I will offer my apologies whenever it becomes obvious that I have been unfair,” the lengthy piece reads, nearing conclusion. “In the meanwhile I will continue to show my irritation for what I perceive Mtv to have done to a beautiful area of rainforest and beach.”

A trailer for the upcoming television show can be found here.

Photo Credit: Joe Crawford on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

[Via: Ecorazzi]

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Written by alexfelsinger


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  1. This is an example of how corporate america is going power-crazy. They think they rule the world and they can do anything anywhere without consequences. I hope MTV gets royally sued for this and I don’t mean for a couple millions, I mean something more like temporary network syndication or at least taking their filming permits from them.

    @Alex: you shouldn’t advertise some individual or entity (in this case MTV) that your criticizing. The link to the trailer is unnecessary. If people are curious enough they’ll look for it.

  2. MTV’s job is to sell the talentless to the tasteless. If they have to kill some rain forest to do it, bummer. They dont care about the environment, just about the $$

  3. For one thing, this makes sense that a tv network would not care about the environment and the idiots that are on the show would mess things up. But if this is an uninhabited island then there would be no locals to come back to see things since no one lives there.

  4. Call me close minded but IMHO all those ‘lifestyle’ MTV shows are turning the kids that watch them into mindless narsasistic consumers who think they are living an alternative lifestyle. MTV has sucked for a very long time and whatever social conscience they started out with has been forgotten long ago

  5. This is simply S-H-O-C-K-I-N-G to say the least! TV people ‘deliberately’ clearing (even a small) piece of the rainforest!!…AND..police WERE in attendance at this ‘event’!!! There should be an immediate BOYCOTT of this network..they have NO social/moral conscience whatsoever!! This is disgraceful!! We are working so diligently to PROTECT (what is left) of the rainforest for the animals and earth…and for this despicable network to ‘purposely’ DESTROY part of it!!!!!

  6. Sounds like MTV, a popularity princess that does not care about her actions. MTV will destroy a whole neighborhood and family if people are willing to watch it. MTV will probably hear about this from every.

  7. It was stated that there was an island out from the beach that was uninhabited, not that the beach was uninhabited. Read thoroughly before criticizing the article. I have seen the aftermath of corporate media doing this type of stuff. A few years ago some filmed in northern minnesota, did pretty much the same thing. And as for the contestant to put up their $300,000 to repair the area, yea right. You know they are on a trip to Cabo San Lucas to blow it on Girls Gone Wild crap. American tweens, teens, and college students by and large are becoming a mildly retarded version of what the 30 somethings were in the early 90s. And to think, it all started with Mtv. ugh.. ban em.

  8. I’m no environmentalist (got here from reddit) but this is just embarrassing. Americans don’t understand why people hate us – this is why. Companies that represent the U.S. (whether we want them to or not) go out there and act like douches and we all look bad. We need to start a petition to get MTV to go back and clean that up. Shameful.

  9. These production companies do this wherever they go. They will have a whole area closed off and guarded say, in the middle of NY City, populace be damned. As long as they are paying the right people enough $$$, all’s well for them and their production.
    What’s the answer? DISRUPT THEM.

  10. Like any business, Viacom (MTV’s parent company) is about making a profit. They are concerend about the publics acceptance of them but primarily the are down to the dollar and cents of the thing. It is a shame that what used to being a “cutting edge” of social reform, is now being the corporate tool. It’s part of the life cycle of business. You can look at 1000’s of businesses that started out as “doing the right thing”, only to finally give in to the investors and the idea of capitalism. The owners of the island should ahve out in a clause to recompense any damages from the shooting. I have worked on several films, and all of them have paid to clean up or replace damaged enviroments. So in the end I am sorry that this happened. This should get more press and MTV should be held accountable.

  11. MTV GET OFF THE AIR!!!!!!!!
    Hi I’m your video DJ I always talk like I’m wigged out on Quaalude’s I wear a stained baseball jacket everywhere I go My job is to help destroy What’s left of your imagination By feeding you endless doses Of sugar coated mindless garbage So don’t create Be sedate Be a vegetable at home And thwack on that dial If we have our way even you will believe this is the future of rock and roll How far will you go How low will you stoop To tranquilize our minds with your sugar coated swill You’ve turned rock and roll rebellion Into Pat Boone sedation Making sure nothings left of the imagination

  12. RE: questions about uninhabited island’s locals

    Sorry if it was unclear in the post, but there are two islands: one with people, and one without. It can only be assumed that the uninhabited island was trashed (based on the commercial for the show where they’re tearing it apart looking for gold because the locals do not set foot on that island.

    The beach that is described is on the inhabited island where MTV set up camp to film the show. The contestants, in two teams, had to build boats to get to the other island, which is visible from the coast of the inhabited/village island.

  13. From what it sounds like in other stories, there were people actually living on Boca del Drago Island. Either way, this is a sad, sad story and some nightmare pr for the viacom big wigs to sort out.

  14. Here’s the deal. I own the property that boarders the plot that they rented to do the show. They seemed to have used my land as well (apparently without knowledge) being that the land owners said that the lagoon, where most of the night filming was done, was a part of their property. The island is not uninhabited, there are about 6000 full time residents, and like most of these shows there is a bar and rest. within a 1/2 a mile. As well “treasure island” is a bird sanctuary and completely off limits to foot traffic.
    I camped on my property the night after they finished filming and walked the site in the morning…yes it was pathetic, garbage everywhere, clearcut rainforest and mangrove, mtv just upped and walked. Very little of the money they brought in went to locals as most of the builders and daily staff were brought in from the city and “local” gringos.
    It is sad to see that a corp. with this kind of $ and influence behave this way in a such a time of environmental awareness.

  15. Hello, that’s “Hollywood” for you. Fake as fake can be and willing to do anything, and I mean anything, to make a buck. Souless devils all of them and don’t think any differently. Take DiCaprio for instance – tells us all to get Green and drives a Prius for show; while he jet-sets coast to coast in a private jet to catch a basketball game. This guy uses up more resources in a week than an average family does in a year.

    Get off the Goshdarn Celebrity obsession people and see Hollywood and all celebrities for what they are, lying money grubbing scum of the earth.

  16. Does anyone know what island in the caribbean this is? I was recently down in St Vincent in the Grenadines in the bay where Hollywood had shot the majority of Pirates of the Caribbean 2… they left all of the buildings (actually just fiberglass walls), a shotty unsafe raised hut, and a deck with a tower in the water.
    When we were there we viewed it as a neat tourist attraction but I see now that it could be viewed as actually just a bunch of garbage they left on the island

  17. People… Still watch MTV? MTV is retarded, period. Hasn’t been “music” television for a good decade or so. Retarded kids today actually watch it and keep it alive though…

  18. This is not acceptable because the rainforest is one of the wonders of the world and people just think they can go in and rip it apart. As if we don’t do enough to hurt the planet, why can’t tv shows just make a damn set and leave the forests and wildlife alone. It’s not going to be a beautiful world for long when the police are actually protecting the people that are causing all the problems. Just a completely messed up world.

  19. I don’t watch mtv, but I just purchased a CD from mtv’s online shop. I wish I would’ve read this article first. I do not want to give mtv any money. They suck!

  20. I cannot begin to tell you how sickened I am to hear that MTV is filming on this island. I personally spent a month on the island last summer, studying sloths in the rainforest. It was truly a life-changing, humbling experience. When I heard about this, I really wanted to cry. This is one of the most beautiful pristine places left Earth, and home to an incredible amount of wildlife diversity. The island is certainly not ‘uninhabited’, but most of the population is comprised of natives, as in native Panamanian tribes such as the Ngobe Indians.

    MTV’s presence on this island is certain demise. I feel an incredible urgency to act. There has to be something we can do to protest this. I cannot stomach the idea of this lush jungle-covered island becoming a trustifarian tourist destination. I’m thinking about trying to get some sort of online petition together and sumbmitting it to one of the local biologists whom I met down there. Anyone have any other suggestions? I would say I would boycott MTV but I don’t watch it to begin with.

  21. I don’t understand why everyone gets so mad at MTV. Obviously the Panamanian government not only ALLOWED them to do this, but CASHED IN just the same.

    You have to look higher on the totem pole, and MTV is just doing what people want to watch. I dont watch it personally, but that doesnt mean that they are evil because they know what creates ratings.

  22. Listen up. Its a peice of wood in some remote island that no one even botherd doing anything with prior. So what big deal is it if Mtv decides to make a beach for tourist and locals and some housings for the poverty. psshh how many imigrants come 2 amercia and do 10times the amount of damage on not only our property but society itself. Little kids, grow up, and move on with your life. And yes, I mean your life outside of the internet…

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