- Reeva Steenkamp, 29, had been dating Oscar Pistorius since November
- She was shot dead on Valentine’s Day at his gated mansion in South Africa
- Screened appearance on Tropika Island of Treasure just days after shooting
- Producers argued show was a ‘fitting tribute’ to the law graduate
- Women’s rights groups called for the proceeds to be donated to charity
- Clips of show being sold to news outlets for $ 3,000 each
By Jill Reilly
TV bosses have been accused of cashing in on the death of Oscar Pistorius’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after broadcasting her final appearance on a reality show.
The backlash came after Tropika Island of Treasure was screened on Saturday night, just three days after the 29-year-old was shot four times at Blade Runner’s luxury home.
It was reported that in the aftermath of her shocking Valentine’s Day death, the television network was charging news outlets up to $ 3,000 for short clips of the show.
Producers argued its broadcast was a ‘fitting tribute’ to the law graduate, but they have been accused of insensitivity for showing her post-eviction interview, where she discusses her ‘journey in life’ and the ‘way you go out.’
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Fun and friendly: Miss Steenkamp can be seen playing with dolphins as part of her challenge on the TV show
Reeva was excited to be part of the challenge, and had planned many more projects for her future
They have also angered women’s rights groups in South Africa who have called for the proceeds from the pre-recorded show to be donated to charity.
‘If this programme is to be aired it should help the cause of women and children suffering from violence,’ Stubbs Maluleke, from South Africa’s Sonke Gender Justice Network told The Independent.
In Tropika Island of Treasure, Miss Steenkamp competes alongside seven South African celebrities and seven other contestants to win a prize of one million rand prize (£72,500).
They have to complete a series of challenges, including diving off 75-foot cliffs into the ocean, tug of wars, and races.
In one clip, Miss Steenkampis seen leaning against a palm tree on the show’s set in Jamaica, blowing kisses towards the camera, declaring: ‘I’m going to miss you all so much. I love you very, very much.’
Miss Steenkamp described herself as ‘Brainy, blonde, bombshell’ on the show, and said she had ‘amazing memories’ of her time on the programme
Reeva was filmed in high spirits and enjoying herself on the programme, which saw her swim with dolphins
At another point, she says: ‘I think that the way you go out, not just your journey in life but the way that you go out and you make your exit is so important.’
Decision: Executive producer Samantha Moon argued the decision to air the programme had nothing to do with ratings
Executive producer Samantha Moon argued the decision to air the programme had nothing to do with ratings.
She told the BBC’s Newshour: ‘I took it after consultation with her family and the feeling was that this is an amazing woman who you don’t have very much in the public domain except for the work she was most well known for… which is her modelling work.
‘We felt that it was important for people to know that there was more to the narrative of Reeva than an exceptionally beautiful girl in a bikini, that she was strong and vibrant and funny and lovely and that this is a tragedy on an unspeakable level.’
But Mrs Moon charged news outlets $ 3,000 each to broadcast a short clip from the television show, according to the Independent.
The show was broadcast on state television channel SABC1 at the weekend, although there have been conflicting reports about whether Miss Steenkamp’s family were consulted about airing the programme.
Some of her family told Associated Press on Saturday that they had not been contacted by either the SABC or the show’s producers.
‘Yesterday the mother agreed that we should go ahead and we are free to go ahead and we are working on how to pay tribute to her’ said Kaizer Kganyagon, a spokesman for SABC.
Miss Steenkamp’s cousin Sharon Steenkamp said the family did not oppose the airing, saying: ‘Her last words to us personally was that she wants us to watch it.’
VIDEO Reeva Steenkamp talks about ‘being true to yourself’ in tribute video
Rachel Jewkes, a gender and health researcher at the South African Medical Research Council, told the The Express that the clips of Miss Steenkamp discussing her ‘exit’ were particularly insensitive
She said: ‘There was a big question about whether it should have been shown at all, or whether they were trying to get audience ratings off the fact she had died.
The programme’s website previously issued a message saying: ‘We are deeply saddened and extend our condolences to Reeva’s family and friends.’
Tropika Island of Treasure host DJ Fresh defended the choice on Twitter writing: ‘An entire season of a game show will never be canceled coz 1 contestant ‘left us’. HOW TV WORKS.’
He said that there was nothing ‘evil or sinister’ about the decision, saying ‘So whats next, dont sell music after an artist is dead coz morally indefensible?’
South African TV critic, Thinus Ferreira, told the BBC that the motives were questionable and ‘very much about the commercial considerations.’
In the show, Reeva said she had a passion for cooking and loves spending quality time with her friends and family
Reeva, pictured in advertising shots for the Tropika Island of Treasure show, had Tweeted excitedly about appearing on the reality programme
On the show which will be broadcast today, Reeva said she liked reading books on her days off
He said that if the show had been pulled it would have upset sponsors, advertising and scheduling.
The show, set in Jamaica, asks contestants to describe themselves in three words and Miss Steenkamp said: ‘Brainy, blonde, bombshell’.
Miss Steenkamp had taken to her Twitter account to excitedly write about her part in the show, asking followers to help her decide what to wear for her publicity events.
On the website, it describes how Reeva was born in Cape Town and moved to Port Elizabeth as a child where she continued her studies after matriculating, eventually graduating with a degree in law.
It says: ‘She moved to Johannesburg 6 years ago after being scouted and named the first face of cosmetics giant Avon South Africa.
Defend: Tropika Island of Treasure host DJ Fresh defended the choice on Twitter writing: ‘An entire season of a game show will never be canceled coz 1 contestant ‘left us’. HOW TV WORKS’
Message: The programme’s website previously issued a message saying: ‘We are deeply saddened and extend our condolences to Reeva’s family and friends’
‘Since then, Reeva has travelled between JHB and Cape Town to film and shoot some of SA’s leading campaigns and commercials.
‘Toyota, FHM, Clover and Italian brand Zui are some of the more prestigious clients she has worked for.
‘With a background in TV presenting, once the live roaming presenter for FashionTV in South Africa, Reeva is currently working on some major projects that include smaller TV roles as well as a lead in a new reality TV show.
‘Reeva has a passion for cars and cooking and prefers to read a book on her off days and spend quality time with friends and family.’
VIDEO Reaction to Saturday’s Tropika Island of Pleasure broadcast
Backlash: Criticism came after Miss Steenkamp’s final appearance on Tropika Island of Treasure, was screened on Saturday night, just three days after the 29-year-old was shot four times at Pistorius¿s luxury home
Miss Steenkamp, 29, was shot four times early on Thursday at Pistorius’s luxury home in a secure housing estate on the outskirts of Pretoria.
Police have rubbished speculation that Pistorius – who is known to have kept a pistol by his bed and a machine gun at his bedroom window – may have mistaken his girlfriend of three months for an intruder.
Her violent death has devastated her family and friends, and stunned the rest of the world.
Miss Steenkamp will be buried tomorrow – the same day Pistorius appears before Pretoria chief magistrate Desmond Nair for the start of what is expected to be a two day long bail application after being charged with murder.
It was reported today that police are investigating if Oscar Pistorius may have shot dead his girlfriend in a fit of so-called ‘steroid rage’ – an explosion of aggression caused by performance-boosting steroids.
Decision: Miss Steenkamp will be buried tomorrow – the same day Pistorius appears before Pretoria chief magistrate Desmond Nair for the start of what is expected to be a two day long bail application
This morning the South African Police Service refused to respond to the claim, but sources close to investigation had previously told a local paper that the steroid rage was one line of enquiry and that the star’s blood was being tested for drugs.
South African police believe Pistorius may have beaten his girlfriend with a cricket bat before shooting her.
Yesterday it emerged that detectives are reported to have recovered a bloodied bat from the Paralympic champion’s bedroom and to have established that model Reeva Steenkamp’s skull had been ‘crushed’.
This and other evidence – a smashed bathroom door, a 9mm pistol, the peculiar pattern of wounds on the body and reports of a row earlier in the evening – is said to have led them to believe the murder case against the sprinter is ‘rock solid’.
The Tropikana Island of Treasure