MTV: You Might Get Raped, or Fired for Becoming Pregnant

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??



  1. Good grief! Who would sign that? And what attorney would approve that contract? Unbelievably scary and unbelievably stupid.

  2. Kate Richey says:

    Holy date rape, batman.

    Morons. That’s not even enforceable. You can’t contract to disregard a criminal statute. Who does MTV have lawyering for them these days? The Etrade baby? Aholes.

  3. Marti Sladek says:

    Pregnancy discrimination is illegal for employees of larger companies. These people are not employees but independent contractors. The language is fairly standard to get producers off the hook for things that could happen and would probably be enforceable if they got sued. It does not release a guy who rapes a woman from civil or criminal liability.

  4. josaphine says:

    This is all incredibly fake and a lie, i have filled out the application Though i was not chosen, these clauses did not appear in the contract. People will believe anything printed on a website it appears.

  5. josaphine says:

    I will note that those not chosen for Real World are often put on what is called a will call back list, which I was put onto. Those people get called back to be on parental control and there other “reality” dating shows. They are not “actors” but the shows are fake and heavily scripted. Shows that do not apply are Jersey shore, Teen mom, 16 and pregnant, and the newer scripted shows. I do know that 16 and pregnant and teen mom hold a clause that the moms who are featured, have to speak out to other youths about how hard there life has been and how to prevent.

    • Hi Josaphine – Thanks for your input! Out of curiosity, when did you fill out your application? And do you know concretely that those who are selected to be cast mates have the same contract as those applying but not chosen?

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