Discovery networks protester shot and killed after taking three people hostage

A man who’d previous protested Discovery’s programming held three people hostage at Discovery Communications’ headquarters outside of Washington, D.C., was shot to death by police this afternoon. The hostages were safe but an explosive device on the gunman discharged when he was shot.

James Jay Lee entered the building, which houses the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, and the other Discovery networks, at about 1 p.m. armed with explosives and a gun. After almost four hours, Montgomery County police Chief Thomas Manger told NBC News that police “believed the hostages were in danger” and “had been talking to him for several hours and he had a wide range of emotions. He pulled his weapon and we came in.”

Earlier, Lee posted a rambling manifesto entitled “My Demands” (if the site isn’t working, try Google’s cache) that was titled, “The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY.” Its first demand was that “The Discovery Channel and it’s [sic] affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn’s ‘My Ishmael’ pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other’s inventive ideas.” It includes a combination of reasonable and batshit crazy sentences, such as “Saving the environment and the remaning [sic] species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.”

He was arrested a year and a half ago after protesting at Discovery for six days after throwing cash into the air, according to NBC News. Early TV news reports suggested he might have been upset about Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, but there’s no mention of the show in the manifesto.

Police kill Discovery building gunman [NBC News]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.