Reality shows have been massively popular for many years now, and series where audiences watch people try to find love are a big part of that. MTV has been going strong on that front with Are You the One? for almost nine seasons, but now production on that upcoming set of episodes has been put on hold, after former contestant, Gianna Hammer, accused producers of drugging her and also covering up a sexual assault.
MTV was gearing up production for Season 9 of Are You the One?, with casting already being underway. But, a new Daily Beast interview with Gianna Hammer, who was on Season 5 of the show (which has now been removed from streaming platforms) in 2017, has led to the network shutting things down as an investigation takes place, which will involve the production company, Lighthearted Entertainment. MTV issued a statement, which says:
In her interview, Gianna Hammer alleges that when she became upset with another cast member during a party where she (and other members of the cast) had been drinking alcohol a lot, the producers pulled her aside, telling her she needed to calm down. Hammer claims they then supplied her with an additional dose of one of her medications (she had begun taking Zoloft prior to joining the season), which other cast members have told her she tried to stop by telling producers that she wasn't supposed to have the medication while drinking. But, Hammer says they convinced her to take the medicine anyway.
After that, Gianna Hammer claims that she blacked out, but that other contestants have told her that she got into bed with a male contestant later that night, in the large bedroom that all of the cast shared. When other cast members heard her telling the male contestant "no" after it appeared that they were making out, but he didn't stop what he was doing, other contestants came over and physically pulled her out of bed.
Hammer alleges that producers allowed that male cast member to stay on the show after asking her, the next morning when she was still unsure what had happened, whether or not they should kick him off of the season and persuaded her to let him remain on the series. According to Hammer, the only punishment for him was that he wasn't allowed to stay in the shared cast bedroom anymore, instead being relegated to a couch nightly, and that both she and this contestant were kept from drinking alcohol during the remainder of the shoot.
In addition, Hammer alleges that the producers told her a "downplayed" version of what happened that night, and she's only been able to piece together the full extent of events after speaking with other contestants. Lighthearted Entertainment has denied any wrongdoing.
Gianna Hammer also said that production, reportedly, kept filming the entire time, and while she was urged to sign an NDA about the incident (which she did), that was also supposed to ensure that the footage from that night was never seen. When preparing for a special about past seasons, Beyond the Boom Boom Room, where current and past contestants reacted to previously unseen footage, Hammer claims that a couple of other cast members told her they were shown video from that night, and when she attempted to get production to show her the same video, they claimed to know nothing about it.
The claims of sexual assault on Are You the One? by Gianna Hammer have been investigated before, with the process of an in-house investigation being started around June of 2020, before wrapping up in December of that year. Another internal review was conducted at MTV in February of this year, but now the network is setting up an independent investigation. Hammer says her hope now is that those interested in joining a reality show realize "that it’s important to be able to stick up for yourself," while participating.
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