Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Morning Misogynist: MTV

The story of MTV Real World cast member Tonya Cooley's lawsuit and settlement with MTV and parent company Viacom has me reeling.

First of all--good for her for having the courage to speak up. What is most abhorrent about this is the role the network as a whole played in the sexual assault of this woman.

-The cameramen watched and both did nothing to stop it nor said anything to Tonya after it happened (as is noted in the story, she was passed out during the incident.)
-The producers also did not report the incident (I think it's safe to assume they saw the footage.)
-The network proceeded to victim blame, citing Cooley's behavior before the incident and her constant drinking which resulted in her passing out prior to the incident.

I'm not going to describe the incident. If you're interested in it, Jezebel has the details.

Oh, and there's that part where MTV went so far as to protect themselves from such lawsuits (were they anticipating rapes and sexual assaults? sounds like it...) by having participants sign waivers:

       "The main legal issue for Cooley was that she was suing for sexual harassment and 
       wrongful termination, but the extensive waiver she signed with the production company 
       not only says that cast members are not official employees, but that they might have to
       deal with "non-consensual physical contact, of which MTV is not responsible," which 
       means that they could get raped on camera and MTV wouldn't be at fault."

The Jezebel article also refers to a past incident where a Real World cast member was raped but the MTV lawyers stepped in and the case wasn't pursued.   I actually wouldn't be surprised if there were more incidents of rape or sexual assault than this that have occurred during the Real World series.  MTV should be ashamed of themselves and someone has got to hold them accountable for their sexist victim blaming. 

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