International news channel CNN has come under intense fire after one of their top faces, religious affairs correspondent Reza Aslan, was filmed eating a purported human brain on television.
Reza, known for his musings on religious faith around the world, is shown meeting with the Aghori sect in India – a group noted for a range of highly controversial practices – as a part of his Believer TV series.
Sitting around a fire with members of the group, Reza allows his face to be smeared with cremated human remains, drinks from a skull and consumes what was claimed to be cooked human brain tissue.
‘Want to know what a dead guy's brain tastes like? Charcoal. It was burnt to a crisp,’ the personality wrote on Facebook.
The stunt has offended many viewers – particularly some mainstream Hindus, who felt the focus on the very small Aghori sect reflected badly on their religion, which is the world’s third largest, and which in its mainstream forms does not condone the practices shown during CNN’s story.
Aslan responded: ‘This is a show about the Aghori not Hinduism’.
The American Council on Science and Health has a further take, warning: ‘In general, eating brains or nervous tissue is not a brilliant idea.
‘Though incredibly rare, eating brains caused kuru, the human equivalent of mad cow disease.’