Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is asking MTV to cancel the “travesty” that is its new reality show “Buckwild,” because it plays to “ugly, inaccurate stereotypes” about the state.
The show, which premieres January 3 and has been described as “the Jersey Shore of Appalachia,” follows nine West Virginians in their twenties living in Sissonville, W.Va., a town with around 4,000 residents.
“West Virginia is a place founded on freedom,” one of the cast members says in the preview. “For me and my friends, that means the freedom to do whatever the f*ck we want.”
Manchin said that even just the previews angered him enough to write a letter to MTV President Stephen Friedman. “As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” he wrote. “I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud about profiting off of ‘Buckwild.’”
“Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior – and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong,” Manchin said.
The Washington Post reports that Manchin repeatedly referred to the show as “just awful.”
“I have no problem with people in this country trying to earn a profit, but I would ask them: Would they do this to their own children, in their own neighborhood, in their own home state?” Manchin told the Post.
John Stevens, the executive producer of Buckwild, defended the show to Entertainment Weekly, saying that the show celebrates its castmembers. “It’s not like looking at a train wreck,” he said. “That’s not what it is. That’s the part I’m really excited about. There is a certain coolness to it. It’s different than a lot of the stuff that has been produced. I think it’s going to get people talking and it might change people’s perspectives. These kids are totally wild and carefree. It will be very refreshing to the MTV audience.”