Well, that escalated quickly! Most geeks will strongly agree that Kari Byron was one of the biggest motivating factors to watch Discovery’s “MythBusters”. Besides the obvious male dominated double thumbs up vote to see the beautiful red-head return to the show, female fans are also outraged that she has been cut. More than 35,647 people have signed a petition which claims that “women and minorities often feel unwelcome in the sciences and discouraged from pursuing STEM studies and careers”, and that Discovery is reinforcing damaging stereotypes by dropping the M7 Build Team that includes Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci. Petition author Julie Rodriguez is taking a firm stance in the cause to “Support Women in Science”.
Discovery Channel responded to the petition with the following statement:
“We are all big fans of Kari as well as Tory and Grant and are looking for other projects where we can work with them,”
Is that a definite no on the rehire? I would say yes. In my humbled opinion I think Julie’s intention for the petition isn’t really clear and terribly contrived with controversy to evoke a push response. I doubt the channel deliberately laid-off three people for no good reason or because two of them so happen to be part of a “minority”. Anyway, they will be sorely missed!
Discovery Channel said goodbye to longtime stars Byron, Belleci and Imahara on August 21. The show will go back to just Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman next season, but a new direction is expected. Discovery did not elaborate on their plans for “MythBusters” going forward.
The full petition reads as follows:
After 10 years of providing entertaining and accessible science education to viewers around the world, Discovery has dropped the M7 Build Team — Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci — from the Mythbusters lineup. They say this is an attempt to bring Mythbusters “back to its roots” by focusing solely on the hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who have not been the primary subjects since its first season.
This is a huge step backward for Discovery — as the main female Mythbuster, Kari inspired a generation of girls and showed them that they, too, had a place in the traditionally male-dominated world of science. While Adam and Jamie are amazing educators in their own right, Kari was what drew me and so many others to the show, year after year. It’s also disappointing to see Grant, the sole person of color on the show, dropped as well.
We already know that women and minorities often feel unwelcome in the sciences and discouraged from pursuing STEM studies and careers. Why is Discovery reinforcing thesedamaging stereotypes?
The way the Build Team was quietly dropped from the show at the very end of the season finale leaves a bad taste in my mouth — as a rabid fan of many years, I’m heartbroken. While I have immense respect for Adam and Jamie’s work, I just don’t know if I can continue to watch Mythbusters in the coming season, when Discovery doesn’t seem to think people like me belong on their network.
If you’re upset about this sudden change in direction too, please sign this petition asking Discovery Communications to bring the Build Team back next season! Share it with anyone you know who loves Mythbusters and wants science education to be accessible to everyone.