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MTV Show Participant Sues for Alleged Discrimination and Assault

A former participant on the 2009 segment of “The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins” has filed an employment lawsuit against MTV, the production company Bunim-Murray Productions and two cast members on the show. The 14 claims filed in the suit include sexual harassment, discrimination, assault, battery, negligence and wrongful termination.

According to the court filing and documents obtained by E! News, former show participant Tonya Cooley is seeking unspecified damages after she was allegedly assaulted by two male members of the show. She claims that the men took her top off, threw it in a tree and wouldn’t let her leave as she tried to go to bed. After Cooley passed out from drinking, she alleges that the men assaulted her, hit her and subjected her to humiliation.

The complaint states that the show and the producers “created an environment in which degrading and harassing behavior toward the female contestants was openly tolerated and even encouraged.” The contestant claims she was discriminated against and treated differently than male contestants when she was sent home for slapping another member of the crew following the assault.

Cast members on the popular reality MTV shows are employees who sign a contract with MTV. Contracts obtained by E! and Village Voice state that participants may be subject to “non-consensual physical contact.” The contract however, may not hold up against the employment and labor laws.

Source: IB Times, ” ‘Real World’ Tonya Cooley Sues MTV Over Sex Assault Claim,” 10/28/2011

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