Too Big for TV: Reality scandals beyond the screen

Allison Lasher, Blogger

Reality TV is known for scandals, but not all of them are expected. There are plenty of moments that couldn’t be scripted even if the creators wanted to. Here’s a taste of the stories that grabbed national attention and the controversy that followed.

“Megan Wants a Millionaire”

You might not recognize the name Megan Hauserman but I’d bet you’d recognize her face. Megan appeared on a whopping four reality shows before landing her own VH1 program, “Megan Wants a Millionaire.” The 2009 dating show featured wealthy men vying for the ultimate trophy wife. In August of the same year, former contestant Ryan Jenkins became the prime suspect in the investigation of wife Jasmine Fiore’s murder. At the end of August, Jenkins committed suicide, bringing the whole controversy to a devastating and screeching halt.

Unfortunately for all three fans of “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” the show was canceled along with “I Love Money 3,” which filmed with Jenkins before his passing. Confusion still lingers on about the actual facts of the case. As for who actually won “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” rumors swirl but we may never know.

“Toddlers & Tiaras”

The show centered around child pageants is no stranger to scandal. One of the most notable controversies came in 2011 when then 3-year-old Paisley Dickey competed in the infamous prostitute outfit from “Pretty Woman.” People all over the country were outraged by the sexualization of the young girl, but Paisley’s mom defended her actions. Attempting to make the best of the controversial situation, the family planned to auction off the scandalous outfit to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, although the organization denied any affiliation. The latest report said the tot planned to donate auction proceeds to Georgia Right to Life, an anti-abortion charity. The most controversial part of all: Paisley won first place for her prostitution wear.

“The Real World: Seattle”

Often referred to as the slap heard around the world, a scuffle between a pair of “The Real World: Seattle” roommates became the first instance of violence on the show. Irene McGee quit the show mid-season and decided to go out with a bang. She called fellow cast member Stephen Williams outside and outed him on camera. At the time Stephen adamantly denied the accusation. Outraged, she called him a homosexual, and Stephen went up to the car window and slapped her swiftly before running away from the car. Not only was the violence in the “Real World” house a shock, but the guy on girl action was not the kind we were used to seeing on the show. Nearly 10 years later, Stephen admitted he was happily engaged to his partner. However, he will always be known as the guy that slapped the girl on the “Real World.” Watch him react here.