“Shark Week”, the beloved TV show that delved into all things shark-related every summer, has now joined the growing list of familiar things that woke people insist are racist and sexist.
The Washington Post highlighted Monday’s Public Library of Science study that claimed: “Shark Week” overwhelmingly featured white men as scientists, including many with the same name.
David Shiffman, a conservationist from Arizona State University and co-author of the study, told the Post that Discovery’s Shark Week actually featured more white commentators and experts named Mike than it did women.
Shiffman said that there are many people of color who are interested in working in this field. “Maybe it’s no accident that they only feature white men when there’s more than half of my field.”
The research team that led the study was headed by Lisa Whitenack, a biology professor at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa. It examined hundreds of episodes from “Shark Week” between 1988 and 2020 to arrive at their conclusions, according to the Post.
Although Discovery did not respond to WBTS’s request for comment, it did inform WBTS in Boston in 2021 about preliminary findings that showed Discovery would not comment on a study that “has yet to receive any scientific approvals.”
Whitenack however stated to the Post that the study had been subject to a scientific review.
The paper claimed that “Shark Week” 2020 featured six white men out of eight experts. TV critics and scientists reacted strongly to the news. Whitenack explained to the Post that her team’s study, which began in 2020, found that almost 90% of 229 experts were white throughout the history of Shark Week. About 78% of them were men.
The year of criticism is not surprising. TheBlaze readers may also recall that 2020 saw a huge race-related reckoning in the midst of rioting sparked at George Floyd’s passing, which included changes in product branding and imaging.
- Mutual of Omaha ditched its Native American chief logo.
- Uncle Ben’s rice changed its name and was dispensed using the image of a black man on its boxes.
- Quaker Oats announced that the famous Aunt Jemima brand of breakfast syrup and pancake mix would be going away because it perpetuates racial stereotypes.
- Eskimo Pie also planned to change its name.
- L’Oreal — the world’s largest cosmetic and beauty company — said it would stop using the word “whitening” on its products, and the Houston Association of Realtors decided to axe the word “master” in descriptions of bedrooms and bathrooms on real estate listings in favor of the term “primarily.”
What were the reactions to the “Shark Week” findings?
Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” posted a rather funny reaction on Facebook Wednesday: “Good Morning. As a white male named Mike who hosted ‘Shark Week’ more than once, this headline caught my eye in The Washington Post, “‘Shark Week’ lacks diversity, overrepresents men named Mike, study finds” … I suspect I might be asked to respond specifically to this headline. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please leave them in the comments below. Unless of course, you’re a white guy named Mike. I think we’ve all heard quite enough from you…”
In addition, one might assume that those commenting on the Post’s story would applaud the study, but a quick look at the comments says otherwise:
- “Amazing research,” one commenter wrote. “I’m hoping this woman now tries to cancel the Great White Shark as a clearly racist shark and sues Steven Spielberg for clearly emphasizing only Great Whites in his racist movie “Jaws.'”
- “Discovery has not highlighted a single researcher who identifies as a shark, nor a shark who identifies as a researcher. Disgraceful!” another commenter said.
- “Like all of wokeness, it’s narcissistic performance art by neurotic white people, for neurotic white people,” another commenter observed.
- “Meth is bad,” another commenter quipped.
- “I saw this headline being dunked on and immediately thought, ‘Please don’t let this be the Post.’ Is this a joke article, and I’m not seeing it??” another commenter wondered.
- “This is basically an Onion article,” another commenter noted. “The left just keeps creating a parody of itself. Another example of how the progressive demand for racism outstrips actual supply.”
- “You have GOT to be kidding!” another commenter exclaimed. “This is an early April Fool’s prank, right? If not, pass the poisoned Kool-Aid, and let’s just end it all now.”
- “Why is only the WHITE shark called ‘great’?????” another commenter asked. “The ocean — so damn racist.”
Here’s a clip from “Shark Week”. Warning: Images of sharks with pale underbellies and caucasian males are included in this content warning.