'Buckwild' Shain Gandee's Death Triggers Push for MTV to Do the Right Thing

Shain GandeeMan, does MTV ever have a messy situation on their hands with their reality series Buckwild. You may remember the initial controversy when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchi demanded that MTV cancel the series to avoid "ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia," and the show came under fire again in February when cast member Salwa Amin was arrested for dealing heroin and oxycodone. Now, shockingly, 21-year-old Buckwild star Shain Gandee was found dead in his truck with two others on Sunday morning.

The vehicle and bodies were found by one of Shain's friends who had been searching for him since he went missing over the weekend. No foul play is suspected, but with this latest tragedy, there's a fresh wave of demand for MTV to pull the plug on the show.

Shain, his 48-year-old uncle David Gandee, and Donald Robert Meyers, 27, all of nearby Sissonville, West Virginia, were last seen at a bar around 3 AM on Sunday. They told friends they were going "muddin" -- four-wheeling -- in Shain's Bronco, but something clearly went horribly wrong. There are no official causes of death yet, but it's theorized that the men died from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of the truck's tailpipe being submerged in mud.

MTV has suspended filming with no word on when it might resume, but there's an increasing call for the network to cancel this series altogether. The mayor of Charleston, West Virginia, where Buckwild is filmed, told TMZ he wants the show off the air:

Of the few cast members on the show, already two have had legal issues, and now one has died. The show only enhances the negative stereotype the Kanawha Valley already has. I hope the show’s life is short.

A quick search of Twitter shows sympathy for Shain's death, but also plenty of criticism for the show. Even onetime Buckwild fans are starting to call for a cancellation, either because it won't be the same without Shain, or because the network will be profiting from his death.

Hollywood talent agent Alec Shankman told Fox News that MTV may very well be in the midst of rethinking the show due to the public backlash:

The show is a slice-of-life show documenting kids doing what they would likely otherwise be doing, so I don’t necessarily think the network is encouraging new or different behavior. But it’s safe to say that this type of outrageous behavior has likely helped with ratings for this show and others like it. Reality TV doesn’t cause people to act recklessly, but it can often put a spotlight on folks who were already perhaps over-the-top to begin with.

At the end of the day, it'll likely come down to what the advertisers decide. If bad PR makes it difficult for MTV to sell ads, that's what's really going to influence programming decisions.

From a personal perspective, I think the right move for MTV would be to cancel the series. I know controversial reality shows are pretty much their bread and butter, but we seem to be crossing a line lately. The over-the-top behavior that made for captivating television has led to addiction, arrests, parents losing custody of their children, and now, someone dying at just 21 years old. Whether or not these things would have happened even if cameras weren't rolling, they shouldn't be turned into public entertainment.

What do you think about this latest Buckwild news? Do you think the show should go?

Image via MTV

reality tv, celebrity death

9 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

mandy... mandysue88

If your kids are at home and WATCHING buckwild then they arnt out in the world BEING buckwild. Honestly this could be a great way to shoe kids the dangers if risky behavior. And how it may look like all fun and games but the consequences are terrifying, and real. If they cancel now no lesson will have been learned.

mandy... mandysue88

*Show kids* stupid phone

nonmember avatar Kathy

I think this is a horrible accident but I don't think the show shuld be canceled over this. Lets see how the kids work through it and they are just normal people living the live they were given and making the best of it and finding ways to have fun. Just because not rich people and all glam does not mean they can't make a show work and make us laugh a lot. Keep Buck Wild, Shain will be missed but give them a shot.

Keri LeeAnn Bridges

ok just because they got caught doing meth and selling oxycodone. and were stupid enough to do stupid things on live public television doesn't mean we stereotype them.. it means they did something stupid. and on tv.  


just like just because they did something stupid doesnt mean they ARE stupid it means they didn't think before doing something. NOT MTV's fault. and not evidence of stereotyping them. 


Dear Mr. Mayor.. perhaps if YOUR police department caught the drug sales and use MTV wouldn't have had to be the catalyst for the boys to get caught.. right? or were you just gointg to IGNORE the illegal activity because you didn't want virginia to look bad? nice. 

Deena Connolly Smith

I, like everyone else, feels terrible about Shain Gandee's death. My heart goes out to their family and friends. However, I can't see how MTV can be blamed for anything and I don't feel the show should be cancelled because of it. MTV wasn't with Shain when he died but perhaps if they had been, the tragedy could have been avoided, so instead of blaming MTV, how about letting the families grieve in peace.

Looki... Looking4Truth

I feel bad for the family of the young man who died.  Any time someone dies who is still young it tugs at the heart.  As far as MTV goes, I don't believe they are responsible for this, however when it comes to "Reality TV", frankly I'm sick of it.  The industry is flooded with reality programs, and whether people want to believe it or not, a  great deal of "reality" TV is staged - at least that's what I read in an article from a very reputable news agency.  People in 'reality' TV shows always want to make sure they stay relevant and exciting so they don't lose their viewers, and in order to do that, certain things are staged to keep the viewer's interest.  Reality TV should just start being 100% honest and truthful.  If people saw what really goes on in other people's lives, they'd get bored to tears.

Michelle Kaye

NEver saw the show never care too. But he got stuck in the mud and the tail pipe was submerged and the carbon monoxide flowed into the cabin and killed all 3. Tell me how this was MTV's fault?

chech... chechimansmama

To question whether he would have died if MTV had not made him a reality is star is kind of ludicrous. He wasn't filming with MTV @ that moment. This Ian something this kid did all the time if u watched the show u would know. This kid had a big heart u could tell he was genuine and was proud to be from where he was. I don't think his fate would be different had MTV been involved or not, we just wouldn't have heard about it. RIP Shain. Prayers to you and your loved ones.

CPN322 CPN322

I don't feel the show should be canceled and other commentors have pretty much touched on all points I was going to bring up. The show wouldn't be the same without him, he was my favorite, but I don't think this or that young womans arrest should be a reason to cancel the show. They would have been doing those things regardless.

1-9 of 9 comments