Real World‘s Tonya Cooley Sues MTV And Co-Stars For Rape
Reality TV star Tonya Cooley, who appeared on MTV’s The Real World: Chicago and Real World/Road Rules Challenge, is suing MTV and two of her male co-stars for sexual assault with a toothbrush. According to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ, Cooley claims she was passed out cold when co-stars Kenny Santucci and Evan Starkman “took another male participant’s toothbrush and rubbed the toothbrush around plaintiff’s genitals, including rubbing her labia and inserting the toothbrush into plaintiff’s vagina.”
The most disturbing part is that cameras were allegedly rolling throughout the whole thing and nobody did anything to stop it.
It’s an issue we’ve discussed before on this site. Just last month, Mollie Hemingway wrote it’s time for child protective services to intervene on Toddlers & Tiaras, a show about the sickening realities of kiddie beauty pageants (there was lots of controversy surrounding one mom who dressed up her 3-year-old as a prostitute and had her compete).
Of course, there’s a big difference between 20- and 30-something adults vs. little children barely old enough to speak, but the sentiment is the same: Has reality TV gone too far â€“ and what responsibility do producers have when it comes to protecting their cast members? Also, what is our role, if anything, as viewers?
In Cooley’s case, she says producers not only knew about the rape, they even replaced the toothbrush in hopes that she would never find out what happened. The suit also claims that female cast members, in general, were stripped of their bathing suits and that male cast members were encouraged by producers to “inappropriately touch female cast members’ bodies, including intimate areas.”
It’s sad that such blatant exploitation makes for “good” TV. It also makes the The Wiggles seem far less offensive all of a sudden…