Netflix is giving new life to old seasons of several MTV reality shows, including The Challenge. However, the “new life” has also brought out some old episodes with some very disturbing footage that did not age well.
TMZ broke the news over the weekend that Netflix has filtered an episode out of the new ‘Challenge’ offerings, due to some controversial footage featuring female contestants bullying housemate Tonya Cooley during a behind-the-scenes clips episode from 2005’s “Inferno 2” season.
The episode also shows the three girls— Tina Barta, Veronica Portillo and Rachel Robinson— taking photos of a naked Tonya while she slept, and then showing the nude pics to other people in the house.
TMZ reports that the episode is not available for viewing because, while the footage aired in 2005, it would not do well in the current culture.
“2005 was just a different time, and things that might have been seen as funny or entertaining back then, just don’t fly today,” the site reports.
Tonya was the victim of bullying and torment on several seasons of the show (back when it was still called Road Rules/Real World Challenge). In fact, Tonya— who first appeared on The Real World: Chicago in 2002— ended up suing MTV, the Bunim-Murray production company and two of her former cast mates, Kenny Santucci and Evan Starkman, claiming that she was sexually assaulted while in a ‘Challenge’ house.
The alleged sexual assault that occurred during ‘The Ruins’ and is sometimes called “The Toothbrush Incident.”
In the lawsuit, which ended in an undisclosed settlement that precludes all involved parties from discussing it publicly, Tonya alleged that while passed out drunk, Kenny and Evan sexually assaulted her with a toothbrush. Susie said she wasn’t aware of the incident until the lawsuit was brought forward two years later. Kenny and Evan have not appeared on a season of ‘The Challenge’ since the lawsuit. (Several cast members who were present the night of the alleged assault told Buzzfeed News in 2016 that Tonya was not assaulted as she claimed in the lawsuit.)
Anyway, some of the viewers who are watching the old seasons of ‘The Challenge’ on Netflix commented on social media about the bullying Tonya endured over multiple seasons of the show. (She did eight seasons, with her last being “The Ruins,” which she got kicked off of after she slapped Veronica in the face.)
“Rewatching The Challenge and those girls were brutal to Tonya,” one person tweeted last month.
“Omg I never knew Veronica & them did this to Tonya? That’s really problematic…” another person wrote.
“I love rewatching the Real World Challenges, but they also make me so sad to see how Veronica & her bitchy clique treat Tonya. At least the world is getting a reminder of what a vicious, ugly person Veronica really is at her core,” another tweeted.
In 2016, Tonya— who has kept an extremely low profile since her time on MTV— told Buzzfeed News that being on MTV took a toll on her health.
“I was drinking too much and it … stopped being a game of sport for me and I [made] some unhealthy choices,” she said, “…I’m not going to hide the fact I became an alcoholic on the show. I was a great competitor, but I was just lost personally. Mentally, I wasn’t mature enough to handle some of the situations I was in and, in turn, I drank a lot.”