This weekend I was on a hike with some friends/lab mates when we, for some reason, started talking about The Hunger Games. This caused me to remember an extremely surprising (and disturbing) news article about how a company was planning on creating a reality TV show similar to The Hunger Games. Known as Game2: Winter, the online show was quoted as being unrestrictive to contestant conduct. Their posted rules stated that “fights, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking [etc]” would be allowed. The all-volunteer cast would try to survive by any means necessary in Siberia, on a bear infested island, for around 9 months.
BBC article about the game show here (more elsewhere): http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/38342421/russia-does-the-hunger-games-for-real-in-siberia-but-no-guns-are-allowed
It turns out the show was a publicity stunt for organizer Yevgeny Pyatkovsky, with some speculation that the Russian Federation shut the show down. Regardless, the show and its premise will not come to fruition, but what if it had? (it garnered a lot of publicity and volunteers to participate)
In an ethical context, I think the egregious violations proposed by the show (rape, murder, etc) are undeniably unethical if they were to happen in everyday life.
My question is, can someone willingly void their own ethical rights?
Assuming the premise of the shows was continued, would the contestant’s willingness to join a show under the pretenses consistent with the show’s rules void their own ethical protections? Or, should a show like this ever be allowed, assuming all participants were willing?
Personally, I do not think a company, or person should be able to make financial gain through the sale of this type of content. However, I do admit that there are plenty of instances where people’s misery has become monetized, and in many of these cases the victims are not volunteers (just because it happens doesn’t make it right). I am not sure how I feel about a person’s ability to subject themselves to these potential conflicts with other willing participants. Should people be allowed to hurt each other if they all agree that those actions are okay? Is war much different?
I am honestly not too sure, but I found the story to be too far out there to not share, and I am curious if a show like this will ever come around in my lifetime…