A Life Below Zero reality star is currently in the middle of a big lawsuit related to the BBC show. Susan Aikens, who is the star of Life Below Zero, is suing her network, accusing them of forcing her into dangerous situations all for the sake of a good camera shot. This isn't the first time that reports have indicated a reality series is somewhat contrived, but if the circumstances prove true, this contrived situation might be a bit more dangerous than the average faked reality TV scene.
KTUU in Anchorage is reporting that Susan Aikens filed a federal lawsuit in Alaska which states that a producer for Life Below Zero had her shoot a scene in a snowmobile, which isn't dangerous in and of itself. However, the producer reportedly had her drive at 60 mph over an icy frozen river covered in overflow. Under those conditions, she crashed and was thrown from the snowmobile, after which Aikens alleges that the reality show refused to pay to airlift her out of the situation, despite the fact her collarbone was broken.
Although you would think that a reality star could say no if he or she felt any danger or duress, the lawsuit further reports that Susan Aikens didn't feel comfortable telling people no on the set of Life Below Zero. So, when she was put into situations that were maybe no the best idea, she said safety concerns were not taken seriously, which is how she got hurt in the first place. Aikens also alleges that she had numerous confrontations with show producer Aaron Mellman, including over whether or not she could wear a facemask in the bitter cold.
While the lawsuit seems to contain some pretty big allegations, currently the BBC is saying that the lawsuit hasn't been received by the network. They have no comment regarding what Susan Aikens has to say.
As in a lot of lawsuits, there is usually a lot of he said she said going down before a final resolution. Because of this, lawsuits are tricky and can take months to resolve. In this case, Susan Aikens actually signed a contract with the BBC, so there are limits regarding what she can sue over. She also reportedly signed paperwork taking responsibility for any danger she might encounter while dealing with snow and other weather related conditions on the series. We'll have to wait and see how the lawsuit pans out. We'll keep you updated. In the meantime, you can watch Life Below Zero on the National Geographic channel in the U.S. To find out what else is heading to TV, take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.