16:42 09 December 2014
US naturalist Paul Rosolie is facing widespread criticism after viewers felt that they were misled to believe that he will be eaten alive by an anaconda for a Discovery Channel documentary.
In the episode that aired on Sunday evening on the Discovery Channel, Rosolie wore a protective suit for Eaten Alive.
He was seen enticing the 20-ft anaconda to consume him in the Amazon. Towards the end, the anaconda was seen striking him in the face before coiling itself around his body and swallowing his helmet. The plan was to have the anaconda devour him completely so he could report from inside the snake before being safely regurgitated.
Rosolie, facing widespread criticisms, admitted that the show was misleading. "I agree that the hype around the show was misleading. People seemed to assume that I already had gotten eaten.
"They seemed to forget that this was an attempt at 'entering the belly of the beast' not a promised outcome."
Meanwhile, Discovery said in a statement: "The safety of Paul, as well as the anaconda, was always our number-one priority."
One viewer complained: "You owe me two hours of my life."
An online petition from animal rights groups calling on Discovery not to air the "cruel" show received almost 40,000 signatures.