‘Stars Earn Stripes’ Stirs Up Controversy
NBC’s Stars Earn Stripes is billed as an “action-packed competition show that pays homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-responder services”. It ‘pays homage’ by having eight D-list celebrities compete against one another in gun-shooting, helicopter-dropping, building-storming exercises. But not everyone thinks it’s quite that simple.
Nine Nobel Peace Prize winners, including archbishop Desmond Tutu, have written and signed an open letter to NBC calling the reality show a “massive disservice to those who live and die in armed conflict and suffer its consequences long after the guns of war fall silent” and asking for it to be cancelled.
NBC responded to the letter, saying that “This show is not a glorification of war, but a glorification of service.”
Amy Fairweather, Director of Policy for Swords to Plowshares (a non-profit that helps veterans handle the transition back to civilian life) is also not a fan.
“I think it is trivializing war, where the consequences are not that you are knocked out the competition next week, the consequences are you don’t get to go on with your life — period — or in your life as it was before as an able–bodied individual,” she said in an interview with RadarOnline.
To be fair, the money the celebrities win goes to the veterans’ or first responders’ charity of their choice. The winner of the competition will have $100,000 to donate to their charity (actually a rather low figure for a reality show).
What do you think? By focusing on the physical challenges and skirting around the realities (death, life-altering injuries, extreme mental stress, PTSD, and the like) of war, is Stars Earn Stripes glorifying armed combat? Or is it, as NBC said, honoring the troops?