Naked and Afraid takes one man and one woman–who meet for the first time in the nude–and places them in an extreme environment where they must survive together for 21 days. They don’t have any food, water or clothes and are only given one choice item to bring with them into the wild. While Discovery maintains that the show is authentic, there are some fans who have accused the reality TV show of being fake.
Some Redditors Accuse ‘Naked and Afraid’ of Being Fake
Two of the biggest hurdles survivalists face are staying warm and finding food. As noted on a Reddit thread, some netizens found it peculiar that participants are on the verge of starving, haven’t eaten for days, and then will miraculously find food. “On XL season two, the random poopoo puddle in Africa has both a catfish and a crab(yes crab),” one person wrote. “At this point, Naked and Afraid is approaching CNN levels of very fakeness.”
One of the things some viewers pointed out was that people always seem to catch food–a snake usually–right before they need to hike to their extraction point, which is when they would need to the most amount of energy. “We call it the ‘day 19 snake’ because they always catch something on day 19, usually a snake,” the social media user explained. “It’s so predictable it’s laughable at this point.”
Another commenter, however, suggested the show was edited in a different way, revealing that some pairs actually caught plenty of food but their episode was edited to make it look like they were struggling. “Most of the participants who have commented have said that they were able to obtain much more food than the show indicates,” Reddit user saludypaz wrote.
“For example, in the episode in Nicaragua with Angel the woman is shown catching a ‘day 19 snake’ and it is implied that this was essential for them to make it to extraction. In the uncensored version, however, Angel is shown catching two turtles at once.”
Survivalist Les Stroud Accuses the Show of Being Phony
The blog Ranker listed several ways that Naked and Afraid is allegedly fake. They claimed sometimes the cast gets modern conveniences, like tampons or supplements and food. Some of the storylines are allegedly scripted, with producers asking cast members to claim personal items have a deeper meaning than they actually do. There isn’t a monetary prize, but Ranker alleged participants are paid $20,000.
As noted by Ranker, Survivorman star Les Stroud slammed the show during an interview with Vice.
“It’s not genuine survival. The producers of these shows want to push the envelope more and more each season because the whole escalation lies in the next biggest thing,” he told Vice. “They have to fake these scenarios in order to achieve that consistently.”
I say it with this tone because I honestly think that most people who watch television need to wake up. These shows are bullshit. Reality TV is shit—it’s not real at all. If you watch these shows for entertainment, fine, but don’t for a second think you’re seeing anything that’s real, true, or demonstrating genuine survival skills.
While there are some who question the authenticity of Naked and Afraid, Blair Braverman wrote a lengthy post for Outside Online where she explained that everything she experienced on the show was real. She recalled the terrifying moment where they heard hyenas near their boma.
“We shouted and banged the pot and built up the fire until a column of sparks rose into the sky and the heat forced us back,” she wrote. “Slowly, over several minutes, the shrieks faded, but the darkness whispered all night. I didn’t sleep and kept the fire big.”
Naked and Afraid: Frozen and Afraid airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery.