June 1, 2007

Exploitation Squared

Yesterday, I wrote about the Dutch television show that was to air today, where a dying woman would select the person who would receive her kidney for a transplant. The show created a firestorm of controversy, as people around the world accused the producers of exploiting the sick and dying for entertainment. Now it looks like they have exploited the contestants for an elaborate hoax (h/t: CQ reader David B):

A Dutch reality television show in which a supposedly dying woman had to pick one of three contestants to whom she would donate a kidney was revealed as an elaborate hoax on Friday.

The show, which the broadcaster had said aimed to focus attention on a shortage of donor organs in the Netherlands, was condemned by Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende before broadcast Friday night and sparked controversy worldwide.

Identified only as "Lisa," the 37-year-old woman who had been said to be suffering from a brain tumor was to base her selection on the person's history and conversations with the candidates' families and friends.

In the last minutes of the program, she was revealed as a healthy actress and producers stunned viewers by saying "The Big Donorshow" was a hoax.

The contestants were also part of the deception, although all three are genuine kidney patients.

I'm not sure which scenario was worse, but both are pretty repulsive and exploitative. The producers claim that they wanted to make a statement about the lack of organs for transplant patients, and at least the topic got some attention. However, they used real ESRD patients for the roles of the contestants, which seems rather cruel, considering that they had to pretend to abase themselves to seem the most pathetic -- and the most worthy -- of the transplant.

I share the hope of the producers that this will convince more people to donate their organs for transplant. I also hope that no one pulls this kind of stunt again.


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» You Know, This Actually Makes It Worse from Blue Crab Boulevard
I posted on Tuesday about a twisted bit of television "entertainment" that was due to air in The Netherlands. Dutch production company Endemol, producers of Big Brother, had scheduled the airing of a show in which three kidney trans... [Read More]

» You Know, This Actually Makes It Worse from Blue Crab Boulevard
I posted on Tuesday about a twisted bit of television "entertainment" that was due to air in The Netherlands. Dutch production company Endemol, producers of Big Brother, had scheduled the airing of a show in which three kidney trans... [Read More]

Comments (19)

Posted by wickedpinto | June 1, 2007 8:35 PM


Posted by stackja1945 [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 1, 2007 8:52 PM

Imperial Rome had "games" in the Coliseum for the bored people. Progress!? Although raising awareness of organ donations has the one redeeming feature.

Posted by wayne | June 1, 2007 9:35 PM

I'm sorry to jump off subject but you need to know that the Skipper (Alan Kelly) at Barking Moonbat Early Warning System was found dead today.

May God Have Mercy Upon His Soul.

Posted by Kelley | June 1, 2007 10:41 PM

Organ donation itself is a barbaric hoax even without the gutter hoax show. By their fruit ye shall know them. (BTW, this is not a religious objection...the Biblical reference is merely apt.)

The atrocious TV program is the fruit of the consciouness that accepts and promotes organ donations.

They are unnecessary. if person has a sick, diseased organ, they can cleanse and heal its function...that is the way to health, not sticking someone eles's organ into a body that it diseased.

No one who has a diseased organ has only one diseased organ. The body doesn't work that way. By cleansing and healing, the entire body benefits.

Organ transplants require further harm to the body through chemo designed to weaken the immune system. Patients die sometimes from that ordeal.

There is no shortage of organs donation...our organs can donate better health to ourselves when given half a chance.


Posted by k2aggie07 | June 1, 2007 10:44 PM

The poster above me is an idiot. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Posted by BenJCarter | June 1, 2007 10:56 PM

I don't see the problem. These folks chose this path of their own free will. Organ donorship seems like a worthy cause. What if 30,000 more people check the "Organ Donor" box on their license because of it? Seems like that might be a good thing.

I'm just sayin.

Posted by Brian H | June 1, 2007 11:12 PM

I'm totally on board with the show's producers. All contestants were consenting adults, as the expression goes. And anything that sends up reality shows is GOOD!

As to donors, give it a couple of years and you'll be able to grow your own from precursor or stem cells harvested from your own blood or fat. Donors are going to go extinct in the near to foreseeable future.

Posted by Richard R | June 2, 2007 12:55 AM

The Dutch "reality" show is no phonier than any other reality show. They're all complete frauds.


And, yes, the second poster is a complete idiot. I only hope she removes herself from the gene pool.

Posted by sp3c | June 2, 2007 1:53 AM

how is this differrent then using these patients (or actors pretending to be) in commercials for the kidney foundation?

I thought it was brilliant

Posted by SFC SKI | June 2, 2007 2:37 AM

Considering most reality shows are actually scripted but tremendously popular, I applaud the producers of this show for using this format to gain people's attention.

It is a sad commentary on human nature that you have to have a fake show to get people to notice a real problem, though.

Posted by Jon | June 2, 2007 4:58 AM

According to the BBC news website although the 3 contestants really did need a kidney, they did know beforehand that the show was a hoax.

...."The "donor" in the show was in fact an actress - though the three people vying for an organ were real patients in need of a kidney transplant.

The three knew that The Big Donor Show, which aired on Friday, was not real. The producers say it was made to highlight the shortage of Dutch donors. "




Posted by dave rywall | June 2, 2007 8:53 AM

It was a brilliant idea.

And the Dutch show will have a hugely positive effect on organ donation. So bottom line, it was a good idea, regardless of people getting all worked up over it.

If there's a show to be disgusted over it's the horrible Extreme Makeover. Imagine the desperate people who didn't make the cut to get on that show. Hopes raised to dizzying heights, then smashed.

I really enjoyed Kelley's wacko post.

Posted by Kelley | June 2, 2007 11:56 AM

Rywall, I enjoyed your wacko post, too!

By the way, I used to have serious chronic kidney disease for a period of about five years. Sometimes my urine was the color of Coca Cola due to the high blood content...that's how bad it was. A painful kidney biopsy confirmed the diagnosis.

For the past thirty years, I've been free of my kidney disease. I actively got rid of my serious disease by doing what I had alluded to previously. By cleansing the body, the disease went away and has stayed away for 30+ years.

Organ transplants are primitive procedures, but just like the practice of bloodletting was common practice and thoroughly believed in 250 years ago, today many, if not most peole, are blindly sold on the value of organ transplants.

Believing in organ transplants is solid evidence that the believer has little understanding of how the body heals itself.

You believe in it because you think it's a medical miracle. But the REAL miracle is how our bodies can heal themselves when the correct methods are used. A thousand times as many people can be helped through simple practices as will ever be helped with organ transplants.

Furthermore, instead of a scarcity situation, natural cleansing is available to anyone and everyone immediately...there is no waiting list, and no "worrying if I'll get one in time" list.


Posted by NahnCee [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 2, 2007 12:03 PM

I think the difference in reality shows is the difference between competing for $1 million (or whatever lesser sum the Dutch could afford) and your life.

Kidney failure is a life & death situation, and I think it's appalling to play games with the hopes of the three contestents that they might be able to have a normal life. Not to mention avoiding the total and final period of death.

Why couldn't they have been told up-front that the producers were attempting to promote organ donations? It would have had the same effect of tugging at viewer's heartstrings. The way it was done, however, all I'm feeling is "ewwwwww" sickness at the barbarity of the Dutch producers and actors, and a sort of mental turning away of the three sick people because I don't want to think about it.

At the least the three sick people should sue the britches off the TV people. If they're gonna have to die, at least they can bankrupt some morally corrupt people before they go, and make sure their names live in infamy for the rest of their sordid existance(s).

Posted by richard mcenroe | June 2, 2007 12:41 PM

Hey, Kelley, how's that second liver working out for you? And that spare heart?

Posted by Steven Den Beste | June 2, 2007 1:02 PM

The show concept was flawed at its base. I didn't think they used cancer patients for organ donations, because of the risk of transplanting the cancer as well.

Posted by dixie68 | June 2, 2007 2:36 PM

How pathetic that a troll would pull such as stunt in order to sell a quack book. I am talking about the poster denigrating organ donor situations.

Posted by Kelley | June 2, 2007 10:40 PM

Richard & Dixie,

I have both of my kidneys. I didn't need a transplant...the cleansing program made it possible for me to avoid kidney dialysis.

If it had been my liver or my heart, the same type of approach would have done the job as well...organs don't get sick in isolation, so when you're cleansing one, you're helping to cleanse the others.

Posted by Kelley | June 2, 2007 10:52 PM


It's always somewhat of a shock to me when people who are still so wedded to such things as organ donations that they think those who oppose them are pathetic.

After all these years with more people waking up to the utter failure of FDA-approved medicine, and seeing natural remedies out perform them hands down, I guess there are still plenty of people who keep holding on to the proven failure of FDA-approved nonsense.

I don't attribute bad faith to your viewpoint, even though my experiences tell me your opinion is flat out wrong.

It is far better by a factor of 10,000 to heal and cleanse diseased organs rather than to cut them out and stick another one in its place.

It's also not fair to those who are sick to put them through the waiting game as they grow sicker and sicker, especially when they can start the process of healing immediately. To me, the organ game is a cruel hoax...inferior and barbaric