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Shain Gandee's Buckwild a Black Eye for West Virginia, Pols Say

Shain Gandee (seated left) parties with other mudders on Buckwild.

Shain Gandee (seated left) parties with other mudders on Buckwild.

Shain Gandee’s show, “Buckwild” generated a lot of publicity for West Virginia… the wrong kind of publicity, according to elected officials. With his death, they have renewed calls to cancel the production, even though MTV has reupped it for a second season.

Danny Jones, mayor of Charleston., the state capital, spoke out today (Apr. 1) even before Gandee’s body had been removed from his Ford Bronco.

“Of the few cast members on the show, already two have had legal issues and now one has died,” he told gossip site TMZ. “The show only enhances the negative stereotype that Kanawha Valley already has. I hope the show’s life is short,” he added.

Charleston is not only the state capital, it’s also the county seat for Kanawah County, where Gandee lived and the show filmed.

The show portrayed the lives of Gandee and seven of his friends. They were a hootin’ and hollarin’ ganp that spent its time “mudding,” drinking and having a good ole time.

Although West Virginia is home to two of the poorest 100 counties in the United States, Kanawah is not one of them. In many ways, it’s typical of middle-America.

Just over 14 percent of the population is below the poverty line and 21 percent of those are under the age of 18. That’s better than the nation’s average as a whole, which is 16 percent. The county is also below the national average for unemployment by a full percentage point.

The region is known for coal, and Kanawah is loaded with it. Coal has been mined there since the 1850s and it’s still the No. 1 producing area of the state.

Outside of that, Kanawah County wasn’t known for much until MTV showed up to film some good ole boys, sparking a backlash.

Two months ago, West Virgina Sen. Joe Manchin wrote to MTV’s president, asking him to cancel the show according to the local Logan Banner newspaper.

Adding to the negative publicity, two “Buckwild” cast members Salwa Amin and Michael Burford were arrested in a drug raid and on DUI charges, respectively.

“This show plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia,” Manchin protested… to no avail. “Buckwild” debuted on Jan 3, to solid ratings.

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