MTV settles 'Real World' lawsuit

Did you know that MTV's The Real World is on its 28th season? Twenty-eight! My first Real World that I watched with any regularity was the third season, with comic book author Judd Winick, Pedro Zamora and the infamous "Puck" Rainey. I watched the series on-and-off through the 16th season, which was set in Austin. During the 11th season, one of the cast mates was Tonya Cooley, pictured below:


Last year, Cooley filed a lawsuit against MTV, alleging that she was raped during the Thailand season of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins. (sidebar: Is Road Rules still on?) Cooley says that MTV and Bunim/Murray Productions encouraged the behavior and retaliated against her, violating employment rules.

I am guessing she isn't getting called back for any more seasons.

Cooley said in the complaint that two other cast members raped her with a toothbrush while she was passed out. Her suit says that she was victimized by repeated instances of sexual abuse. The suit also said the producers wanted this kind of behavior, offering rewards and additional airtime for being scandalous. I mean, it is a reality show. Isn't that kind of the point? (Not the rape, obviously)

Viacom, the parent company of MTV, said that there was no employment relationship between her and them, and that she deserves some of the blame for what allegedy happened by not bringing it up to them through their "open-door policy with complaint procedures."

Viacom said that she " failing to avail herself of VMN's policies and complaint procedures, Plaintiff failed to avoid the injuries of which she complains. For example, while she was a contestant on The Ruins, Plaintiff was frequently intoxicated (to an extent far greater than other contestants), rowdy, combative, flirtatious and on multiple occasions intentionally exposed her bare breasts and genitalia to other contestants."

We will never know what really happened, as the two sides have told the judge they have resolved the suit and have asked for a stay to finalize the resolution. Whatever the case, this seems super scummy from Viacom. If someone was raped, it wasn't their fault. PERIOD. Alleging anything else is very low. She could have walked around naked all day long (which most of her google pictures seem to show she is comfortable with), that doesn't give anyone the right to violate her.


- The Real World
- Tonya Cooley

Written by: Hamatosan
Oct 24th, 2012, 5:22 pm

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