Antis Cancel Bear Documentary

Public television forced to cancel video's premiere

Outdoor Life Online Editor

First, anti-hunters went after bear hunting in New Jersey and had the season canceled. Now, they've targeted a documentary on bears in the state and had that pulled from the airwaves. "Bears: Too Close for Comfort" was canceled because of numerous complaints by animal rights activists who claimed the video wrongly portrayed black bears as vicious beasts.

Over 1,000 emails, phone calls and faxes were received in protest of the documentary at New Jersey Network, the state's public broadcast station. Many of the complaints came from people who are yet to even see the video, but Lynda Smith and Stuart Chaifetz, activists who had been given an advanced screening, mobilized them.

Smith claimed the documentary used fear-mongering techniques that included camera angles "right out of a horror show."

Tom Phillips, the director, sees things differently. He intended the award-winning documentary to be an educational tool for the public. In recent years, New Jersey's bear population has surged causing numerous incidents with humans.

The reason the network gave for canceling the documentary's premiere was "technical concerns."