Gold Rush star Tony Beets admitted to a “law-breaking scene” that landed him in a Canadian court this week. The 57-year-old Dutch-Canadian gold miner said in an interview outside the Yukon Territorial Court on Tuesday afternoon that he should never have gone along with the reality TV stunt. Beets was referring to a “joke gone bad” on an episode of Gold Rush in February of 2015. The video of the “Viking Baptism” scene was short but ultimately resulted in pollution charges for Tony Beets and former employee Mark Favron.
Starcasm called the controversial scene that aired in 2015 on Discovery Channel’s long-running reality TV series Gold Rush, a “law-breaking scene,” adding that the scene landed the “lovable bearded” Gold Rush star in “hot water.” The “Viking Baptism” scene lasted less than 30 seconds, but cost former Tony Beets’ employee Mark Favron more than $1,700 in fines. The “Viking Baptism” episode of Gold Rush was filmed in October of 2014, and showed Tony Beets giving Mark Favron the go-ahead to pour gasoline on a dredge pond and set it on fire, hoping to “change its luck,” according to the short video clip that’s featured on the CBC Yukon Facebook page.
Tony Beets, along with his company, Tamarack Gold Resources, Inc., and his former employee, Mark Favron, were all charged under the Yukon Waters Act for pollution and allowing the scene to take place. The charges came after the Gold Rush episode aired on the Discovery Channel, according to CBC News on Wednesday. The Yukon Waters Act is a statute of Canada dating back to 1992 that protects and regulates water resources in the Yukon Territory, as noted by the Government of Canada website. Mark Favron, who came up with the “Viking Baptism” idea on the last day he worked for Beets as a welder on Gold Rush, was charged and fined for polluting the Indian River dredge pond.
According to the Whitehorse Daily Star, “Anton (Tony) Beets is facing two charges for depositing waste in a water management area and failing to report it to an inspector.”
Beets was charged with allowing the Gold Rush scene to take place. According to Favron, Beets gave him permission to pour “about a gallon of gas into the water,” while another employee lit it on fire. Some Gold Rush viewers think the scene was set up and filmed to make the show more interesting, adding “shame on you, Gold Rush.” Other viewers don’t see harm in the stunt because the dredge pond isn’t a natural pond “connected to other bodies of water,” and it was “only a gallon of gas,” not the “millions of oil these oil companies leak out into the oceans and the land when drilling rigs,” according to one Facebook comment by user austin.morgan.98096 on the “Gold Rush Alaska Gossip” Facebook page.
Long-time Gold Rush cast member Tony Beets was reportedly just hoping for a change of luck for his dredge pond at the Eureka Creek gold deposit producer site, located in Yukon, Canada, in the Dawson mining district, according to The Diggings. Favron had already admitted to his role in the “Viking Baptism,” saying, “I did it, so there was no reason to fight it.” Beets’ trial resumed on Wednesday with closing submissions, and with Beets’ lawyer arguing that Tamarack, Inc. should not be liable. However, Tony Beets already admitted to his part in the Gold Rush “law-breaking scene” during an interview on Tuesday with CBC News.
“Since I am the man running the show, I guess I should have been a little bit more, and told him not to do it. However I didn’t do that, so here you are in court, so take the fine. Next time, don’t go there, It’s kind of a joke gone bad, right?”
Although, Beets did add that he believes that “too much is being made” of the Gold Rush stunt, Yukon chief mining inspector, Robert Savard, said that reality T.V. shows in the Yukon, such as Gold Rush, receive no “special attention” and still have to comply with mining, energy, and resource regulations. Gasoline, according to the Yukon government senior water quality scientist, Brendan Mulligan, contains a number of toxins and carcinogens that can be harmful to humans, animals, and aquatic life. Beets’ defense lawyer, André Roothman, argued that burning the gasoline “minimized” damage to the environment.
Season 7 of Gold Rush wrapped up on March 10, with over 3 million viewers, and according to RenewCancelTV, Gold Rush has been officially renewed for Season 8 to reportedly premiere this fall.
[Featured Image by Gold Rush/Twitter]