I came of age in the MTV era. In fact, MTV is only three weeks older than I am and for the longest time, I thought this was super cool. Now? Not so much. The folks over at The Village Voice have obtained a copy of the standard contract members of The Real World must sign. While some of its contents are not surprising (i.e., if you get kicked off the show, it will be filmed), others are… well, shocking.
Several clauses explicitly deal with sexual and reproductive issues. For example, as the Village Voice points out, the MTV contract states that female members are “not pregnant and…won’t become pregnant before the show’s done filming. If you do become pregnant, you’ll tell the Producer immediately–and pregnancy is grounds for dismissal.” Funny, I thought discrimination against pregnant women was illegal. What happens if male cast members impregnate someone during their stint on The Real World? Do they get dismissed as well? Doesn’t look like it. Newsflash: pregnancy – both planned and unplanned – is, indeed, part of the real world. So what gives?
As if this sexist, maternal profiling bullshit wasn’t enough, it gets worse. Much, much worse.
Have a look for yourself:
I understand there are risks in any such interaction, including but not limited to, the possibility of consensual and non-consensual physical contact, which could result in my contracting of any type of sexually transmitted disease, including without limitation, HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), Chlamydia, scabies (crabs), hepatitis, genital warts, and other communicable and sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy.
I had to read this twice to make sure I wasn’t crazy. MTV has their cast members sign a contract saying they understand they may be RAPED? Wow. Just wow.
To add insult to injury, it also states that producers are under no obligation to conduct background checks on cast members. So, for argument’s sake, a sexual predator might be thrown into the mix, and MTV can’t be held liable for any “non-consensual physical contact” that might arise from casting decisions.
I find it deeply disturbing that cast members must waive their right to live in an environment free of sexual assault. This isn’t a requirement for other work environments (to my knowledge). So what does that say about MTV and the generations that have grown to embrace it??