10 Documentaries That Ruined Reputations

10 Documentaries That Ruined Reputations 10) In For The Krill The documentary ‘Blackfish’ debuted on CNN in 2013 and, in just 6 months, had been watched by an incredible 25 MILLION people It explored the inhumane treatment of the orcas living in captivity at SeaWorld – having been torn away from their families at young ages and placed in the confinement of tanks the size of just two lengths of their body for DECADES – Circumstances which were said to have provoked violent behaviour from the animals, leading to the death of TWO trainers and a visitor to the park all in the space of just 20 years

Of course, widespread anger soon followed the film’s release A study later that year showed that 32% of people who were aware of ‘Blackfish’ had lower opinions of SeaWorld, even if they HADN’T seen the documentary The knock-on effect was an almost-$16million loss for the company due to low audience attendance and a decrease in stock value by almost a THIRD As if that wasn’t bad enough, in 2018 SeaWorld and its former CEO were ALSO ordered to pay $5 million in fines to settle fraud charges for having mislead investors about the impact the documentary had on the company’s reputation and business 9) Never-Never Land Journalist Martin Bashir’s 2003 documentary ‘Living with Michael Jackson’ gave insight into many aspects of the singer’s life

One in particular, however, sent shockwaves among its 53 MILLION viewers Despite having been cleared of charges of a child abuse case in 1993 which cost him million of dollars, Jackson admitted that children were STILL sleeping over at his house – one of whom was Gavin Arvizo, who featured in the documentary holding hands with the singer Following its release, Jackson claimed to have been ‘treated unfairly’ by the documentary and Bashir came under attack Fast-forward to 2019, and new abuse allegations from Wade Robson and James Safechuck tarnished the singer’s name once again with the release of documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ The reaction to the documentary THIS time, however, was a lot more proactive

3 Canadian and 2 New Zealand radio stations pulled Jackson's songs from air, The Simpsons producers withdrew the Michael Jackson episode, and, according to one of America’s top entertainment lawyers, the singer’s estate stands to lose MILLIONS of dollars in annual income 8) Down Low R Kelly has been dogged by allegations of abuse and misconduct for 25 years – yet has STILL remained one of the biggest stars in music to date Airing on LifeTime in 2019, ‘Surviving R Kelly’ features interviews and testimonials from numerous victims, colleagues and celebrities, and seeks to shine light on the allegations which have plagued the rapper’s career The documentary pulled in 19million views on its first night

In fact, that very same night, NBC news reported that there was a 20% increase in callers to RAINN, an anti-assault organisation The public outcry which followed the documentary’s release was so strong that it provoked record label RCA to cut all ties with R Kelly Spotify also removed all the singer’s songs from its playlists and celebrities including Lady Gaga apologised for working with the rapper According to TMZ, a source in ‘day to day contact’ with the singer claimed he didn't watch the documentary but is ‘disgusted’ by it and plans on suing ‘everybody who had anything to do with [it]’

He allegedly threatened LifeTime with a lawsuit in January 2019 7) Give It Arrest Making its debut in December 2015, Netflix docuseries ‘Making A Murderer’ looks at the conviction of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey for the murder of Teresa Halbach in 2005 Just one month after its release, a staggering 193 MILLION people had watched the series and by 2016 the series had scooped 4 Emmys Awards Andrew Colborn is a retired police officer who served for the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office and who featured heavily in the documentary

He was ALSO one of the detectives to testify in court against Steven Avery and see him convicted of first-degree murder But in December 2018, Colborn filed a lawsuit alleging that the show’s makers omitted key facts and distorted events in order to indicate that Colborn and other officers framed the suspects and manipulated trial testimonies which led viewers to false conclusions The lawsuit also alleged that this was done with malice ‘in order to make the film more profitable and more successful… sacrificing and defining character and reputation in the process’ The defamation case is still ongoing 6) Bad Reception The UK’s version of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding ran for over 4 series from 2010 to 2015, peaking at 8

2 million viewers It explored the lives and traditions of Irish traveler families as they prepared to wed In 2012 to promote the latest series, the words ‘bigger, fatter, gypsier’ were plastered on billboards It led to 372 complaints, including that the advertisement was ‘likely to cause physical, mental or moral harm to children from Gypsy and Traveller communities’ While the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority concluded that the ads were NOT likely to cause widespread offense, one traveler didn’t seem to agree

Using the pseudonym Pippotamus, an open letter to network Channel 4 read ‘I am writing to you with the hope that you will stop ruining my life’ The traveler continued to brand the show ‘a work of fiction’ and wrote of how the ‘myths’ that have been spread by the show have strengthened stereotypes and ignorance towards the community The writer claims to have been subject to physical attacks during the latest series of the documentary, and meanwhile, her teenage cousin was attacked by a group of girls calling her a prostitute 5) A Mom-umental Fail First airing in 2009, reality-documentary series Teen Mom is a spin off of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant It focuses on the trials and tribulations of several young women as they navigate motherhood while growing up themselves

Amber Portwood is one of the programme’s original girls Her personal struggles with drugs, rehab, prison and bipolar disorder have all played out on the show over the past 10 years, attracting a lot of ‘online hate’ towards the star from viewers In November 2018, however, Amber hit her breaking point when she took to Instagram to plead with fans to stop calling her a bad mum based on her representation on the show In the rant she also discussed how appearing on the MTV show has ruined her life and smeared her name She said ‘This show is killing me

This show has seriously ruined my image as a mom, when the truth hasn’t even been put out there’ Yet despite announcing NUMEROUS times that she was quitting the show, Amber is to return to the show for the newest season in 2019 4) Burnt By Fyre Netflix’s 2019 ‘Fyre’ documentary strived to tell the story behind the Fyre Festival debacle of 2017 In short, founder Billy McFarland ripped off customers who had bought into an Instagram-fueled dream of luxury villas and partying with supermodels in the Bahamas In reality, however, ticket-holders were offered FEMA tents and prepackaged sandwiches

Multiple lawsuits later, McFarland was convicted of fraud, including conning investors out of over $27 MILLION He was jailed for six years Featuring alongside McFarland in the documentary was the festival’s OTHER co-founder, Ja Rule, who was shown being heavily involved in the organizing process from the outset Following its release, the rapper heavily criticized the documentary He tweeted that he too was scammed by Billy and denied having anything to do with defrauding people

While he was exonerated from legal matters, his undeniable involvement in the failed festival was enough to tarnish his reputation In 2019 during a concert, the rapper gave his fans the chance to vent at him when he encouraged them to yell and swear at him over his involvement in the matter Oh, and he’s ALSO said he’s planning a Fyre Festival 20 I guess some people never learn

3) Wolf Of Wal-Mart The 2005 documentary film, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, sheds light on some of the company’s rather questionable business practices At the time of the documentary’s release, the chain’s US employees earned just $970 an hour, making their average year income just $17,000 Yet that was nothing in comparison to the company’s workers in China who put were paid $3 for 11 hour days and in Bangladesh where workers were paid 18 cents an hour for 14 hour days And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, former Wal-Mart managers discussed the practice of cheating the workers by forcing them to work overtime without extra pay or removing the overtime from their timesheets

The documentary itself received a welcome reception, scoring 93% on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 28 critics In fact, one critic, Ty Burr at The Boston Globe, said the film was ‘advocacy journalism at its most unsparing, and it demands to be seen, discussed, argued with, and acted upon’ Walmart responded that the film is factually inaccurate but nevertheless established a public relations war room to respond to the public criticism which emerged shortly after the film’s release 2) Watch Your Step In December 2001, American author Michael Peterson found his wife, Kathleen, unconscious at the bottom of the stairs in their house in North Carolina He claimed she must have fallen down the stairs after consuming alcohol, however the autopsy report found that Kathleen had sustained severe head injuries which were consistent with blows from a blunt object

It was a finding that placed Peterson right in the frame for murder The author decided to take an ‘Alford plea’ in court, meaning he didn’t ADMIT guilt but still plead guilty ‘The Staircase’ is a miniseries documenting the trial of Peterson It first aired in 2004, with further episodes in the years that followed, before debuting on Netflix in 2018 Peterson granted the production crew access to his life and family for the docuseries, evidently wishing to prove his innocence and tell the story from his own perspective

Yet far from actually PROVING his innocence, the documentary instead plunged the otherwise hardly-known case firmly into the spotlight, attracting more people than ever before to aver his guilt 1) Blood Brother CBS docuseries ‘The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey’ coincided with the 20th anniversary of the 6-year-old’s death in the basement of her family home in Colorado in 1996 It’s a mystery that has never been solved, but in 2016 former investigators of the original case and forensic experts came together to reexamine the murder for the programme The Ramsey family had been cleared of all suspicion from the case back in 2008 Yet experts featuring in the docuseries built a new theory that suggested that JonBenet’s brother Burke, who was nine years old at the time of the crime, bludgeoned his sister to death, and that his parents covered for him

A theory which, of course, was extremely defamatory As such, Burke Ramsey filed a lawsuit against CBS network for a staggering $750 million, stating that his reputation had been ruined In the lawsuit, Ramsey claimed that the network, its production company and the experts interviewed in the series conspired to defame him for publicity and profit The lawsuit was settled privately, and the case of JonBenet Ramsey is still unsolved

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