3:59pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Discovery Responds to 'MythBusters' Gender Bias Petition
More than 30,000 MythBusters fans are calling on Discovery to bring back its former hosts — including Kari Byron — and have launched a petition that accuses the network of not supporting women in science.
Longtime MythBusters investigators Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara exited the veteran docuseries in August after being part of the team for more than a decade. Their departures were announced at the end of an August episode as the series plots a new direction. Co-hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman said the series will return to its "origins," with just the duo overseeing it.
"This is a huge step backward for Discovery," Care2 petition author Julie Rodriguez wrote. "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."
The petition asks Discovery to "affirm its support" for women in science by bringing Byron and the rest of the three hosts back to the series. "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 these damaging stereotypes?"
Reached by The Hollywood Reporter for comment, Discovery 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."
The decision to update the series comes as MythBusters has seen ratings sag over its 10-year run. The network is looking to freshen things up and bring in new viewers to the show with a loyal but not massive fan base.