What Would You Do?, an ABC News hidden camera program that often engineers scenarios to expose the supposed bigotry of Americans, was asked on Wednesday to stop filming by the town of Greenwich, Connecticut.
The ABC program uses a hidden camera to see how people react. On February 4, 2011, host John Quinones explained how the show hired an actor to play a security guard and pretend to harass Mexicans. The piece, billed as an investigation of Arizona's immigration law, featured the faux-security guard spewing, "...If they're not legal citizens, they shouldn't be here. They should be deported. They look Mexican."
On March 4, 2011, Quinones and his TV crew constructed a hidden camera scenario that involved gay military veterans expressing physical affection for each other in a diner.
The journalist narrated, "They're holding hands, stroking each other's hair and caressing each other's legs...So what will happen if we throw in our actor Vince, posing as an irritated diner, who's had enough of this PDA."
On January 6, 2009, Quinones took the program abroad to find out how actors portraying "ugly Americans" would be treated in France. Quinones chided, "The loud, clueless American, oblivious to French manners and culture, and the haughty French, who seem to relish putting them in their place."
Notice that, even in another country, the ABC program still focused on uncouth, prejudiced Americans.
Not all the shows are political, however. Writing for the Greenwich Times, staff writer David Hennessey explained how the town of Greenwich reacted:
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We told them, `You can't film here,' " Dustin Anderson, the executive assistant to First Selectman Peter Tesei, said, describing the Tuesday filming around Greenwich Avenue of the hit ABC show "What Would You Do?" as "disruptive."
Tesei said the show's crew was allowed to complete its filming Tuesday, but was asked to choose another location for a Wednesday shoot.
The show, hosted by John Quinones, stages ethically challenging situations and follows the reactions of bystanders. The hidden camera series "puts ordinary people on the spot," according to the show's website.
Hennessey added, "Capt. Tim Berry, of the Greenwich Police Department, said the scene that caused a stir Tuesday involved an intoxicated adult who needs to be driven by a child."