When “The Real World” debuted twenty years ago, it was about seven reasonably intelligent strangers trying to make their way in New York City. Now the show is about people too stupid to recognize a terrible, exploitative contract. The Village Voice obtained the standard contract for cast members, and some of the stipulations are absolutely brazen in their subhuman treatment of cast members. Some choice examples:
• You may die, lose limbs, and suffer nervous breakdowns. (Stipulation 1)
• You grant the Producer blanket rights to your life story. (49)
• The Producer can do pretty much anything they want with your life story, including misrepresent it. (49)
• You may be humiliated and explicitly portrayed “in a false light.” (12)
• You can’t change your physical appearance during filming, without the Producer’s express permission. (26)
• The production crew can show up at your personal house at any time to film and/or to take anything they want, as long as they return the objects once production has ended. (20a)
• The Producer holds the authorship and copyright to every photograph, email, website, sound or video recording, documented performance created in relation to the program, on every medium imaginable. (8)
• You’re obligated to participate in a Reunion Special for up to five years after the show ends, you’ll be paid $2500 for your involvement, and the Producer only has to give you 14 days notice. (50c) [VV via the 20s]
And yet none of that is as bad as this combination:
• Producers are under no obligation to conduct background checks on your fellow cast members. (7)
• Interacting with other cast members carries the risk of “non-consensual physical contact” and should you contract AIDS, etc. during such an interaction, MTV is not responsible. (7)
That’s right: MTV has no obligation to do background checks on prospective cast members, but if you get raped and contract AIDS from another cast member, it’s your fault.
Everyone on this show is a f**cking idiot.