French Survivor doctor kills himself, blaming media coverage of contestant’s death

The doctor on France’s version of Survivor, Koh-Lanta, has committed suicide, blaming the media for its coverage of a contestant’s death just over a week earlier.

Dr. Thierry Costa wrote in his suicide note that “my name has been sullied in the media” and cited “unfair accusations.” Gerald Babin, 25, had a heart attack and died during the show’s first challenge. Production stopped and the season was cancelled.

Costa wrote that he was “sure of having treated Gerald in a respectable way, as a patient and not as a contestant. … Even though I regret this unhappy end, I acted in conformity with the Hippocratic Oath.” The physician, who worked on four seasons of the series, died in Cambodia, where the show had been in production prior to a contestant’s death.

The AFP reports that “French media outlets have questioned the production company’s treatment of the contestant, citing unnamed sources who claimed producers delayed the doctor’s response time and interviewed Babin on camera despite the fact that he appeared ill.”

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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.