A SPANISH television station faced demands to scrap a popular talk show after a man stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death just days after she refused a marriage proposal broadcast on the program.
In a case recalling similar incidents in the US, the Spanish man, who was shown on his knees unsuccessfully begging the Russian woman to take him back, went to her home in Alicante five days later and stabbed her fatally in the neck.
The Association of Television Viewers in the eastern region of Catalonia demanded that television station Antena 3 drop its popular Patricia's Diary show, which attracts more than two million viewers a day.
“People who make television should learn not to manipulate human emotions in order to get audience share,” said the association's president Josep Ma Guerra i Mercadal.
Women's groups also accused the program of employing deceit to lure the former girlfriend onto a stage with the man, despite a court order requiring him to keep at least 500m away from her due to a previous case of abuse.
“You can't mislead a woman into meeting her abuser, because of the consequences which we now know of,” said Ana Maria Perez del Campo, of the Federation of Separated and Divorced Women, calling for Antena 3 to apologise.
With a constant parade of weeping, quarrelling guests, Patricia's Diary specialises in getting ordinary people to reveal their most intimate problems and confront errant loved ones in front of an afternoon television audience.
Last week's appearance by the spurned Ricardo, who wanted to win back the woman identified as Svetlana, was typical in all but its violent sequel played out off screen five days later.
“I want you to marry me. You're everything for me. Everything, everything,” said Ricardo, getting to his knees and bringing out a ring as Svetlana watched uncomfortably.
Presenter Patricia Gaztanaga had to push Svetlana to respond.
“Come on Svetlana, say something, we're all here waiting,” said Gaztanaga, before the woman produced the answer that Ricardo was apparently unable to accept: “No.”
A spokesman for Antena 3 said the station had done all it could to determine whether any of its guests were dangerous.
“Antena 3 utterly condemns this killing,” he said, without making further comment.
The death of Svetlana, who left behind a two-year-old son, is not the first incident of violence between people whose emotional conflicts have been broadcast on television.
In one famous case, a US man shot and killed a friend who had revealed he was homosexually attracted to him on The Jenny Jones Show in 1995.
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