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Grieving B.C. family seeks apology over paranormal TV show as network removes broadcast

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The family of a teenage girl who died in Victoria says it’s traumatized by an episode of a TV show about the paranormal – and its complaints have now led to it being removed from APTN and APTNlumi.ca.

“It seems reality shows are going over the boundaries sometimes and not considering the effects of these shows on people, parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents,” says Olivia Mahaney’s father, Michael.

The 17-year-old girl was found deceased from a drug overdose outside the building at 1250 Wharf Street in downtown Victoria two years ago. A memorial had been set up at the entrance to the property and her case has been profiled by media.

Now Mahaney’s family says it just learned that a January episode of ‘The Other Side’ makes contact with a spirit that mentions Olivia's name inside that Wharf Street building. Members of the cast also place flowers in a planter box that had been the site of the memorial.

“I haven’t slept in days after watching this episode,” says Michael. “I don’t feel that it’s their place in the first place to address the tragedy of my daughter.”

‘The Other Side’ is a half-hour documentary series produced by Angel Entertainment, airing on APTN. It follows paranormal investigators who communicate and try to take steps to help unsettled spirits move on.

“It was haunting,” says Olivia’s mom Sarah Pollner. “They were saying she was with evil spirits and ghosts and she was scared and she didn’t know what happened to her. So when you put your daughter to rest and you come to peace as much as you can about her resting and then you’re hearing she hasn’t the whole time? You feel like you lose her all over again. And you feel like you failed her and you couldn’t save her.”

Pollner and Olivia’s dad have asked for the show to be retracted and taken down.

In a statement, APTN’s director of TV content and special events says it’s taking steps to now remove the show from its broadcast and APTNlumi.ca.

“APTN trusts the independent producers that we work with to practise compassion and integrity in doing the work they do,” says Adam Garnet Jones. “We were distressed to learn that the family was not aware of the story being told by the team at 'The Other Side.'”

The president of Angel Entertainment, Wally Start, says: “We support APTN’s decision to remove the episode.”

Olivia’s family says she was a happy girl. Her dad remembers a day when his child was once afraid of ghosts and the dark. The parents are hoping for an apology.

“I just feel like they exploited her death for entertainment,” says Pollner.

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