In a new interview with the BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs, Spielberg, 76, opened up about how he feels guilt about the dwindling shark population following the astronomical popularity of his 1975 blockbuster, in which a peaceful New England beach town attempts to save itself from a great white shark that’s killing off beachgoers. Spielberg was just 27 at the time of the film’s production.
“I truly and to this day regret the decimation of the shark population because of the book and the film. I really, truly regret that,” the filmmaker shared. “That’s one of the things I still fear. Not to get eaten by a shark, but that sharks are somehow mad at me for the feeding frenzy of crazy sport fishermen that happened after 1975.”
Spielberg isn’t alone in his regrets. Peter Benchley, the author of the book Jaws was based on, spent much of the rest of his life campaigning for the protection of sharks, the BBC previously reported.
“Knowing what I know now, I could never write that book today,” Benchley shared. “Sharks don’t target human beings, and they certainly don’t hold grudges.”
Despite Spielberg’s assertions, experts are mixed on the influence of the film on the existence of sharks. While it’s a statistical fact that the shark population is shrinking (a 2021 global study published in Naturefound the world’s population of oceanic sharks and rays has fallen by 71%) some experts say that’s not due to the book or film. Paul Cox, chief executive of the Shark Trust, said placing the blame on Jaws is “giving the film far too much credit.”ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!