Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) October 23, 2009 -- When a 6 year old boy supposedly went missing, it caused the rise of the âreality entrepreneursâ to come under a blistering attack.
Following the notification to the police that the storm-chasing, wife-swapping, publicity-loving and amateur scientists, Richard and Mayumi Heeneâs, 6 year-old son was missing, it created a three county chase for the child. A chase which was watched by millions of Americans live and cost the counties $36,000. The police are of the opinion that the entire incident was an elaborate, very well thought out hoax.
Investigators now say the tarp and aluminum foil UFO would not have had insufficient strength to support the weight of a six-year old. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden told reporters, in a remarkably straight speaking press conference, that even the account of Falcon's hiding place probably wasn't the truth. "For all we know he may have been two blocks down the road playing on the swing in the city park."
Motivated by the family's desire to get their own reality TV show, they set up a larger-than-life stunt. The couple have endeavoured to become famous through their storm chasing hobby and have appeared twice on the reality show âWife Swapâ.
The charges against the Heene's may include conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, making a false report to authorities and attempting to influence a public servant. The most serious of these carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a $500,000 (U.S.) fine.
The police say all three Heene' boys knew about the hoax, though none is old enough to face charges, the oldest being 10 years of age and the youngest 3 years old. Police have expressed concern for the safety of the children and Mrs Heene. They didnât have enough evidence however, to physically remove the children from their environment.
Prof. Cowen of George Mason University in Virginia said police have no choice but to crack down in order to deter other fame-seekers from attempting copycat stunts themselves. It should make people take a hard look at what motivates reality entertainment.
Reality television will pay anywhere between $5000 per performance to a total of earning $250,000 over three years, while costing a fraction of the traditional scripted entertainment.
The point however, of reality television, is to push, harass and emotionally abuse contestants to the point where they react in entertaining ways. Some contestants are manipulated to the point of despair, unable to deal with the sudden fame and public scrutiny.
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