'Man vs. Wild' slammed for featuring Indian Prime Minister Modi: 'Like inviting Trump to a show on climate change'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

The Aug. 12 episode of Man Vs. Wild is not must-watch TV for some.

Bear Grylls is being criticized for having Indian prime minister on Man Vs. Wild. (Screenshot: Discovery)
Bear Grylls is being criticized for having Indian prime minister on Man Vs. Wild. (Screenshot: Discovery)

Host Bear Grylls has been touting the episode featuring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeting that people around the world will “get to see the unknown side of” the leader as he “ventures into the Indian wildness to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change.” He even called it an “honor” to have the politician on the show. However, critics are having a hard time seeing Modi heralded as a great conservationist.

A long thread by Kavita Krishnan, an activist, feminist and journalist who has been outspoken about the leader, who is a far-right Hindu nationalist, listed reasons why the show “should have researched” before having Modi as a guest. The first post in the thread has more than 2,700 likes and 1,500 retweets.

Examples included that Modi’s government allowed 170,000 acres of forest in Central India to be destroyed.

It also pointed to a BBC article about Modi-backed pal Gautam Adanis’s controversial coal mine project in Australia, which critics have said is “destroying” the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

This article, from India environmental journal Down to Earth details more of the Modi administration’s “assaults” on the environment.

In the comments, people shared other stories debunking Modi as a champion for the planet.

Another critic compared the show spotlighting Modi as a conservationist to “inviting [Donald] Trump to a show on climate change.”

Here are of the other reactions to Modi being on Man vs. Wild, including a call to boycott the episode:

Others accused Krishnan of having her “own agenda.” However, there was criticism well beyond her post, as noted above.

Modi, whose government has controversially been trying to deport some 40,000 Muslims, was among those honored with the U.N.’s Champions of the Earth Award last year. His “pioneering work” in taking “environmental action” was cited, including his pledge to eliminate all single-use plastic in India by 2022.

In the trailer for the Discovery episode, Grylls and Modi go rafting and make a spear with the host saying at one point, “You are the most important man in India. My job is to keep you alive.”

The British adventurer, who has appeared on the show since 2006, has not publicly responded to the social media criticism yet — nor has the show.

Grylls has shared the screen with politicians before. Former President Barack Obama appeared on Running Wild With Bear Grylls in 2014.

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