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As Black Lives Matter protests continue to happen around the U.S., the entertainment world is going through some big changes, with a variety of TV shows, movies and major publications shaking things up behind the scenes in response. One of the latest pseudo-casualties happened on MTV's reality competition show The Challenge, which has officially cut ties with contestant and former winner Dee Nguyen in response to some of her controversial and insensitive messages shared on social media.
Below is the official statement released by MTV's The Challenge announcing Dee Nguyen's ousting.
No stranger to controversy, The Challenge is currently airing Season 35, which is dubbed Total Madness, with Dee Nguyen as one of the current contestants who has yet to get eliminated. Network execs made the arguably reasonable decision to continue airing Total Madness, considering the show features plenty of other contestants beyond Nguyen. However, in a similar statement (via Deadline), MTV and Bunim/Murray Productions confirmed that Nguyen would not be welcomed back for the reunion special that is being filmed later this year.
What's more, Dee Nguyen was kicked out of the house she was staying at by her fellow Challenge co-star Wes Bergmann, who says he thinks of Nguyen as a daughter figure. He'd agreed to have her stay in his home for self-quarantining purposes during the pandemic, but said he made the decision to ask her to leave less than an hour after he was made aware of her offensive messages on social media.
That said, Wes Bergmann went the extra step to actually get Dee Nguyen some help. According to his lengthy Twitter update, he reached out to various parties – including a doctor, a lawyer, a CEO and a hotline – and after having some insightful conversations into the matter, Nguyen got set up at a "mental health lodge" to help her sort things out.
Fans first took note of Dee Nguyen's social media messages on Saturday, June 6, when she tweeted a message saying she has been saying Black Lives Matter "since the day I lost my virginity," followed by a halo emoji. As well, after someone went after her for a lackluster response to people dying during the protests, she responded by saying "people die every fucking day," and then insulted the commenter. Those comments were made even more public by former Big Brother and current Total Madness contestant Bayleigh Dayton, whose fiancé Swaggy C shared more than a few harsh posts about Nguyen on Twitter in the aftermath.
Fellow Total Madness competitor Tula "Big T" Fazarkerley, who appeared in previous Challenge seasons, took to her Instagram Stories to share a bit of insight into her experience with Dee Nguyen. In her words:
She said she was ‘blacker’ than me because I didn’t know the name of a musician and because she hadn’t seen me fight and be aggressive. I felt like she was trying to make me fit her idea of a ‘stereotype.’
Dee Nguyen originally joined the Challenge franchise after being in Season 17 of MTV's UK series Geordie Shore, which she officially exited in the season finale. She was previously in the War of the Worlds season, and was in fact the winner of War of the Worlds 2 in 2019.
It's not clear whether or not Dee Nguyen will move back to Australia following her mental health treatment, or if she'll stick around in the U.S. to find work elsewhere on the small screen. While waiting to find out, tune into The Challenge on MTV on Wednesday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET.