Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III is not only in the fight of his political life, but he is also fighting with producers of a reality TV show he thinks is demeaning to his state.
“I believe that you can make a compelling show about the people of West Virginia that does not play into vicious stereotypes,” he said in his letter. “[A]nd I stand ready to help you do just that.”
After watching the trailer for ‘West Virginia Wilder’ I felt compelled to speak out. I believe @Viacom & @MTV can make a compelling show about the people of #WV that does not play into vicious stereotypes & I stand ready to help them do just that. MORE: https://t.co/e4C0GWkhXw
Manchin’s letter invited Bakish and the production crew to visit the state and touted its attractions.
“If you want natural beauty and wonder, I can show you the rhododendron-dotted hillsides that welcome spring to Cooper’s Rock or cliffs that jut above Summersville lake and dare you to jump off on a hot summer’s day,” he said.
Manchin also highlighted in his letter how the state is “coming together” to confront the opioid crisis in West Virginia, which has the highest drug overdose rate in the country.
This isn’t the first time Manchin criticized a Viacom show that negatively portrayed West Virginia.
In 2012 after watching a preview of the MTV show “Buckwild,” Manchin called for it to be canceled before it debuted.
The show was eventually canceled after one of its stars died suddenly.
Viacom responded to Manchin, saying it was not involved in the production of the show, Deadline reported.
— Viacom (@Viacom) May 31, 2018
In a statement to Deadline, Executive Producer JP Williams said Manchin’s letter was a stunt.
“We respect Senator Manchin, but he is obviously just looking for attention,” he said. “We have found a home for the series and it will be announced next week.”
Manchin is facing a re-election challenge from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in a state that went heavily for President Donald Trump in 2016.