It’s been 20 years since seven strangers were picked to live in the penthouse of a Las Vegas casino and have their lives taped, but thanks to modern-day streaming services, viewers are now able to rewatch the original season of The Real World: Las Vegas in its entirety.
While fans are presumably happy to relive the ups and downs of Season 12, the same cannot be said for Arissa Hill, one of the seven roommates who called the Palms Casino and Resort home while filming back in 2002. Earlier this week, Arissa angrily took to Twitter to slam Bunim-Murray— the production company behind the show— and claim that she and her co-stars were taken advantage of in regard to their show contracts.
After learning that her season of ‘The Real World’ had, like many other reality TV series from the past, been made available to stream on Netflix, Arissa slammed Bunim-Murray Productions for not giving the cast a heads-up about the move. (In addition to ‘The Real World’, BMP has produced MTV’s The Challenge and E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians, among many other reality TV series.) She went on to call the company out for continuing to make money off the cast’s decades-old hijinks.
“F**k BMP for real for putting that s**t on Netflix to stream and not even giving a courtesy email heads-up,” Arissa tweeted this week. “Before when they pretended to give a f**k; they would let us know they were doing a marathon on MTV and that there would be an uptick in people recognizing us etc.”
As fans of ‘The Real World’ may remember, joining Arissa on Season 12 were roommates Trishelle Cannatella, Frank Roessler, Alton Williams, Steven Hill, Irulan Wilson and Brynn Smith. Though all seven cast members were between the ages of 21 and 23 at the time of filming, Arissa– who was 22 years-old at the time– accused BMP of “taking advantage of kids” through cast contracts.
“Also; f**k them even harder for taking advantage of kids, giving us all contracts of adhesion to where they are STILL making money off the s**t we did 20 years ago,” she wrote.
Although Arissa may be mad that she and her roomies aren’t making money off of the streaming of their episodes, it is extremely common in the world of reality TV for this to happen. Participants’ contracts rarely— if ever— allow for the participant to receive residual payments and most participants on shows like ‘The Real World’ receive a set, one-time payment for appearing. The footage filmed is the property of the production company, which is free to do whatever it wants with it.
Cast members sign contracts stating that they understand that they will not receive residuals or any additional payments for appearing.
In 2011, The Village Voice obtained a ‘Real World’ contract from an unknown season, and revealed what the cast members sign off on when they sign up for the show. In addition to agreeing to some wild and downright disturbing things, the cast members from the unspecified season agreed to be paid only $300 a week during filming. (This contract is over 10 years old so that fee is most likely much higher now.)
It’s worth noting that while ‘The Real World: Las Vegas’ aired 20 years ago, Arissa went on to appear on three other reality series/spin-offs produced by BMP, most recently in 2021 on Season 1 of The Challenge: All Stars. She also competed on The Challenge: Battle of the Sexes 2 in 2004, and in 2007, she and her ‘Real World’ roomies headed back to the Palms Casino and Resort for Reunited: The Real World Las Vegas.
Arissa noted that she wanted “to say a whole lot more” on the recent matter, but would wait until she decided “how much singing” she wanted to do. She ended her Twitter rant by calling those in the entertainment industry “soulless.”
“Whole entertainment industry chock full of soulless people who will happily take advantage of kids who don’t know better, nor have the resources to capitalize on all of the nuances that exist when an ‘opportunity’ presents itself,” she wrote.
Despite her anger towards BMP, Arissa reposted an Instagram Story from a fan on Thursday who shared that they were excited to see “the best season” of ‘The Real World’ finally streaming on Netflix.
(Photos: MTV; Twitter; Paramount+; Instagram)