The real issue may be the language used in the script rather than the 'brutality' of the footage

The controversy over the rape of a snow leopard that actually was notBBC/YouTube
Blog Media Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 20:29

It all started with the Daily Mail review on Planet Earth II.

The second part of the BBC series shows footage of snow leopards mating, which drew a lot of flak not because of the ‘brutality’ of the footage but more due to Sir David Attenborough’s description of the scene.

Calling it a “rape”, the Daliy Mail’s Jim Shelly, said, “Like last week’s opening show, Planet Earth II left Sir David Attenborough looking not so much the saint we’d always thought he was but a heartless sadist. Not a TV God or English gent, but well a total bastard intent on making us all suffer.”

Sadly, the producers’ defence was that the tone of Attenborough’s language was a requirement as they have to compete with the likes of Game Of Thrones, The Telegraph reported.

Other analyses question the sequence in its entirety.

Such language is unique to Planet Earth. Several shows such as Nat Geo’s Ultimate Predators, Animal Planet’s Biggest and Baddest and Gangland Killers or the BBC’s The Hunt and Attenborough’s 2002 show, Life of Mammals also use melodramatic language, while discussing animal behavior in the wild.

 “Criticism of Attenborough seems to be driven as much by the emotional rollercoaster of his commentary and editing as by the actual content. We are presented with the “rape” – the tension ratcheted up even more by the presence of a cub in apparent mortal danger – in tones dripping with anthropomorphised emotion. How could we not look at that female cat in peril and empathise, couching her fate in human terms?” Mike Jefferies, a Teaching Fellow of Ecology at the Northumbria University in Newcastle, wrote in The Conversation.

Anthropomorphism is nothing but attributing human characteristics to non-human entities. In this instance, projecting the mating of snow leopards as “rape” through the visuals and the editing.

Watch the clipping here:

The relevant portion is from 43:26 to 46:39

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