Was it an act of negligence or was it a case of ‘squeezing the production budgets’ which resulted in this catastrophe? It has been confirmed that recently a participant in the ‘Clear Sex’ Reality Show by the name of Saad Khan lost his life in the recording of the show when the host Amina Sheikh (the model of Clear Shampoo) gave an under water challenge to him.
As part of the show the participants had to run through a field with a weight attached to their chests and one of the hurdles was a deep pond (8 feet at center) through which they had to pass through. Saad pulled a muscle whilst going through and shouted for help but the lame safety and lifeline measures failed to rescue him up and the young man, the father of four had to suffer. He was 31.
The production was being supervised by the production consultant Naved Arshad, the owner of Oxygene Channel. The production team was ‘Working Hands Productions’ from India.
Aarpix has more on the story at http://www.aarpix.com/mag/2009/08/22/breaking-news-unilever-pakistan-kills-a-young-boy-in-their-lame-stunt-tv-show.html.
The response however is what prompted me to write this post. Spokespersons of these two companies have been shamelessly calling the incident a mere accident and not accepting responsibility for such a loss. It is one thing to drive the production budgets down to a point where even the safety equipment is not of standard anymore. However it’s another more shocking aspect that these big multinationals are decrying the incident and our local media is helping them.
I do hope Unilever has formulated a proper response for this tragedy. Being the largest advertiser in Pakistan does not mean that a company can shun its responsibilities to the people.
Updated: September 4th, 2009
From: In a discussion with one of the UniLever’s Reality Show particpants,
What exactly happened with Saad?
Participant: Saad bhai cleared the first stage, which was running through fire; he jumped in the pond and swam…. When he reached the middle of the pond he suddenly turned and changed his style to backstroke, he looked troubled, we shouted and asked him to open his 7 KG back pack, and he struggled to open it. While struggling he yelled for help and disappeared in the water. When there was no response from him, we dived in the pond to look for him, but couldn’t find him as the water was very muddy and I came out. We started screaming and crying for help but there was no help around. After around 10 minutes his back pack came up floating on the water. The lifeguards came 10 – 12 minutes after the incident occurred and recovered Saad bhai’s body.
Q: You mean to say that there was no professional help on the spot? No paramedics, no safety precautions, nothing at all?
Participant: Unfortunately No, there was nothing present over there, we were given the surety that the pond is not very deep. And there was only first aid help in case of injury! No professional divers no life guards and no snorkelers. We only realized it after this incident that during the 10 episodes a similar incident could have happened with any of the participants as pre-cautionary & safety measures were non-existent which we also never realized……!