The Challenge: Inferno II’s Tonya Sued MTV for Sexual Assault

Two seasons of MTV’s The Challenge, Inferno II and The Duel, dropped on Netflix on December 15 and lots of followers of the show and new viewers will probably be questioning about a few of the totally different opponents on the show and what they received as much as after their Challenge careers. One of the cast members with a memorable storyline on Inferno II was Tonya Cooley, who was on the Bad A***s crew.

During the season, Cooley was seen dropping her cool in an argument with fellow contestant Beth Stolarczyk and throwing her suitcase and belongings into the pool. A recurring storyline all through the season was Cooley’s wrestle to get alongside along with her feminine teammates, specifically Veronica Portillo, Rachel Robinson and Tina Barta. Cooley usually opened up throughout her confessionals about how she felt not noted and was not supported by her teammates.

After her look on Inferno II, the Real World: Chicago alum returned for 4 different Challenges till her last look on The Ruins in 2009. Following the show, Cooley sued MTV and stated she’d been sexually assaulted by a few the cast members on that season.

Cooley’s Lawsuit Alleged That She Had Been Sexually Assaulted By 2 Male Cast Members & the Lawsuit Was Settled Out of Court

Cooley filed a lawsuit on October 27, 2011, towards Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP), MTV and fellow cast members Kenny Santucci and Evan Starkman claiming that the 2 opponents “took one other male participant’s toothbrush and … insert[ed] the toothbrush into [the] plaintiff’s vagina” when she was handed out, in response to the Hollywood Reporter’s revealed model of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said that BMP supplied the contestants with limitless alcohol to “encourage the individuals to have interaction in scandalous habits that might improve viewer rankings.” It additionally said that MTV and BMP “inspired and condoned male contestants to mistreat females, often in a sexually offensive matter.”

MTV’s mother or father firm Viacom responded to the lawsuit by stating Cooley was despatched dwelling from The Ruins as a result of “she violently struck one other contestant.” The counter-charge additionally argued that “In addition to failing to avail herself of VMN’s insurance policies and grievance procedures, [Cooley] did not keep away from the accidents of which she complains. For instance, whereas she was a contestant on The Ruins, [Cooley] was often intoxicated … rowdy, combative, flirtatious,” the Hollywood Reporter shared.

In interviews with BuzzFeed News, a number of different cast members stated though the incident in query was inappropriate, the assault described within the lawsuit by no means occurred. Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio, whose bunk mattress was subsequent to Cooley’s, stated she had gotten drunk and handed out and a photograph of Santucci and Starkman holding the toothbrush was taken however there was no assault, he stated. Contestant Susie Meister stated:

The fact of the matter is, Tonya received wasted, handed out on her mattress along with her bikini bottoms falling off, and the blokes did maintain up this toothbrush as a joke to take an image — which is completely inappropriate and disgusting. But there wasn’t an assault that occurred.

They each talked about that there have been cameras on the contestants always and if there had been any signal of an assault, crew members would have intervened. Devenanzio stated he thinks different contestants who disliked Santucci and Starkman advised Cooley an inaccurate model of occasions. “I do not assume Tonya is purposefully accusing individuals that did not do it,” Meister stated. “I imagine she believes it occurred when it did not.”

The lawsuit was settled privately and closed in October 2012 and the small print of the settlement haven’t been made public.

Cooley Appeared on 8 Seasons of ‘The Challenge’ & Won 1 & Later Opened Up About Her Struggles on the Reality Show

Cooley, now 40, made her MTV debut on The Real World: Chicago in 2001 and 2002 earlier than making her debut on The Challenge again when it was often known as The Real World/Road Rules Challenge for its sixth season, Battle of the Sexes. She additionally appeared on The Gauntlet and Battle of the Sexes 2 earlier than her Inferno II look. She then competed on Fresh Meat, adopted by Inferno 3, which she received, then The Island and The Ruins, her last season, in 2009.

Cooley spoke to BuzzFeed News in a cellphone interview in 2016 and though she couldn’t focus on specifics of the lawsuit, she shared her experiences on the show and the struggles she had with alcoholism that stemmed from her actuality TV profession. “I used to be consuming an excessive amount of and it … stopped being a recreation of sport for me and I [made] some unhealthy selections,” she advised the outlet.

She stated the show introduced out loads of issues she had in her life previous to actuality TV: “I’m not going to cover the actual fact I turned an alcoholic on the show. I used to be an incredible competitor, however I used to be simply misplaced personally. Mentally, I wasn’t mature sufficient to deal with a few of the conditions I used to be in and, in flip, I drank so much.”

Cooley is now sober and opened her personal hair salon, she shared with BuzzFeed News and stated most followers of the show can be shocked to see her now. “I’m a genuinely joyful individual now. I nonetheless have a little bit of the wild and loopy Tonya in me, however I’ve realized to stability her out. It would have been good to have individuals see that I truly made it.”



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