Sly steak on French survivor show sparks death threats

·2-min read
Koh Lanta contestant Teheiura Teahui admitted to feasting on steak and chips, sparking an online backlash (AFP/Ed JONES)

French police are investigating death threats against a hit reality TV survivor show's contestants after one of them admitted breaking the rules by obtaining a plate of steak and chips.

Teheiura, a professional chef from French Polynesia who is one of the most popular figures on the Koh Lanta show, shocked viewers on November 9 by confessing to eating food brought in from outside.

The long-running programme, watched by millions on the TF1 channel, sees contestants live in isolated and harsh conditions on a remote tropical island and compete against each other for a prize of 100,000 euros ($113,000).

Since Teheiura's eviction for his food faux-pas, two other candidates -- Coumba and Christelle -- have reported death threats and racist abuse on social media triggered by rumours that they denounced their fellow competitor.

"Given the emotion sparked by these death threats in the production teams, and our responsibility to protect contestants, ALP has reported them to the public prosecutor," a lawyer for the production company said.

France has stepped up prosecutions for racial abuse and death threats on social media this year, with several high-profile cases intended to send a message that offenders cannot hide behind online anonymity.

Teheiura, who has appeared on Koh Lanta several times before, has apologised to his fans, saying he found this year's special 20th anniversary edition particularly difficult because it was being filmed on his home island in the Pacific.

The 43-year-old admitted speaking to a local fisherman to obtain food on two occasions, which reports say included a steak and chips as well as cooked vegetables.

"One morning I saw someone. I hesitated for a long while and then finally, overcome by hunger, I wasn't able to resist. The temptation was too strong," he wrote on Instagram.

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