TLC Hid Cooking Reality Show Contestant's Suicide

December 22, 2011

Fans of the TLC show "The Next Great Baker" quickly grew fond of contestant Wesley Durden, a man who had served two tours of duty in Iraq since 2007 with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. On Monday night, Durden was eliminated and a shocking postscript to the episode announced his death. Actually, Durden committed suicide back in October but had still been used in promotional materials for the show's second season and appeared in the first four episodes. 

Viewers were outraged the show didn't alert fans to the tragedy before this evening. ShortFormBlog took to Twitter to say, "We're disgusted by this Wesley Durden #TLC thing. Based on our traffic in the last hour, so are many viewers." Tumblr user soulofapoet wrote, "I saw this and I just…. I had no idea what to do. It makes me REALLY hate TLC and really question why Buddy would have let something like this happen."

Tucson Weekly blogger Dan Gibson writes perhaps the most important comment on the situation. "I understand that a lot goes into putting these shows together, but there has to be a better way to deal with actual reality when it creeps into our reality programs." 

Did TLC handle this properly? 

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