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Food Network pulls streaming clips after reality show winner charged with murder

Ariel Robinson (pictured), a Food Network contestant who was charged with child murder. (Image courtesy Simpsonville Police Department)

Discovery Networks has pulled clips of the cooking competition “Worst Cooks in America” from its streaming and partner platforms after a recent show winner was charged in connection with the death of a child last week.

On Tuesday, Ariel Robinson (29) and her husband, 34-year-old Jerry Robinson, were accused of severe child abuse toward Victoria Rose Smith, a 3-year-old whose relationship to the South Carolina couple was not known.

Police say they believe Smith’s death was caused by multiple blunt-force injuries inflicted by the Robinson couple.

Ariel Robinson was a contestant on the most-recent season of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” reality competition, which debuted last June. The show runs contestants through a “culinary boot-camp” to improve their cooking skills, with the winner receiving a $50,000 prize to donate to charity.

The Food Network is owned by Discovery Networks, and the entire season had been available on the company’s newest streaming service Discovery Plus until January 23. Clips of the show were also deleted from YouTube and Hulu.

Discovery did not give a reason for the removal, but a source familiar with the company’s decision said executives did not want clips of the program to appear in national news broadcasts. Officials at Discovery were also concerned about possible criticism that the company was capitalizing on a child’s murder if they left the episodes and clips online. Out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to pull the clips, the source said.

“Worst Cooks in America” continues to air on the Food Network, with its most-recent season beginning on January 3.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).