London, 4 November: Sir David Attenborough finds himself at the centre of another scandal over deceptive filmmaking.
Back in the spring, he was accused of deceiving viewers when he claimed, in his Netflix show Our Planet, that walruses were falling off Siberian clifftops as a result of climate change.
This was shown to be untrue by Canadian biologist and mammal expert Dr Susan Crockford, who described the abundant scientific literature, dating back many decades, showing that walruses have always taken to the land, and even fallen from clifftops. She also pointed out that the footage Attenborough used to make his case seemed to have come from a well-documented incident when walruses had been driven over cliffs by polar bears.
Yesterday, in his new BBC documentary Seven Worlds, One Planet, Attenborough again showed falling walruses, but this time making it quite clear that polar bears were driving them off the cliff. Remarkably, however, the footage he used appears to be from the same incident and shot by the same cameraman as shown in his Netflix documentary, despite the producers’ claims at the time that no bears had been in the vicinity.
Attenborough therefore seems to be tacitly admitting that the claims he made in the Netflix film, and the denials issued by the show’s camera team and producers, were untrue.
GWPF director Dr Benny Peiser welcomed Attenborough’s climb-down.
We can only be pleased that Sir David has stepped back from the deceptive claims he made in his Netflix show. He and the producers should apologise for the trick they pulled and withdraw the Netflix film that has badly misled and unnecessarily traumatised millions of people and news media around the world”.
Note for editors:
For more information about David Attenborough’s Netflix scandal, see