The reality star claimed in her suit that she was sexually assaulted by two cast mates while she was passed out, and the show's cameras rolled the entire time with no one intervening. She claims 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.”
Tonya had no recollection of the assault, but she learned the following day that both the production crew and other cast members witnessed what had happened.
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According to The Hollywood Reporter, Viacom has always maintained no fault in what occurred. I'm sorry…what? The company cites the many waivers and releases signed by participants as assumption of risk. However, I would imagine that those releases and waivers have more to do with assuming the risk of the crazy challenges (and likely alcohol poisoning) than sexual assault.
Basically, the company puts the blame back on Tonya, citing her wild behavior and drunken antics as a reason for the assault. Did Tonya act a fool on the show? Of course…she and everyone else. That's still no excuse for being responsible for filming her assault.
In my humble opinion, Viacom's whole 'blaming the victim' stance makes the company sound deplorable. The company claimed in its Answer to Cooley's Complaint, "In addition to failing to avail herself of VMN's policies and complaint procedures, Plaintiff failed to avoid the injuries of which she complains. For example, while she was a contestant on The Ruins, Plaintiff was frequently intoxicated (to an extent far greater than other contestants), rowdy, combative, flirtatious and on multiple occasions intentionally exposed her bare breasts and genitalia to other contestants."
I'm certainly not implying that Tonya is perfect. Heck, I wouldn't argue if you said she was bat shiz cray-cray, but no one deserves to be the victim of what she's alleging. Of course, MTV will never learn. After a "thorough investigation" on its part, both Evan and Kenny returned for other Challenge seasons. Lovely.
No details of the settlement have been released.
TELL US-WHAT DO YOU THINK OF TONYA SETTLING HER SUIT AGAINST VIACOM?
[Photo Credit: MTV]