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)
“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.