Tonya Cooley Suing MTV; Claims Kenny and Evan Raped Her With a Toothbrush
Oooh, this is getting good.
According to an article in CNN, Tonya Cooley, 31, who began her reality TV career as a cast member of The Real World: Chicago in 2002 and then want on to participate in 8 different Real World/Road Rules Challenges, is now suing MTV, Bunim/Murray and two former co-stars Kenneth Santucci and Evan Starkman for alleged sexual harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination and sexual assault, all of which were filed with the LA Superior Court yesterday.
Cooley claims the sexual assault occurred in May 2009 in Thailand, while filming The Ruins, which was the last challenge she appeared on. According to her complaint, on the eighth night of filming the show, she got very drunk and passed out, at which time fellow cast members Evan Starkman, 26, and Kenneth Santucci, 29 (also known as Kenny and Evan) raped her with a toothbrush, an incident that she claims was witnessed by both the camera crew and cast members who were not involved in the incident.
Cooley, who claims not to remember the incident, also alleges that the Bunim/Murray were aware of the assault since it took place on camera, but failed to notify her or take any action against Kenny or Evan.
Cooley was later kicked off the show for slapping fellow cast member Veronica Portillo, 33, after an argument, a decision that she deems unfair of Bunim/Murray because she believes she was held to a higher standard then her alleged rapists, Kenny and Evan.
While I don’t necessarily think she’s lying, I am curious as to why she is not pressing criminal charges against Kenny and Evan, because even though the alleged rape occurred in Thailand, if you look at the document below, on page 3 under JURISDICTION, it says she and her fellow defendants are still governed by California law, which would mean she is able to to press criminal charges against them in the USA even though the incident occurred overseas.
So, as of right now, it appears she is more bitter about being fired from MTV and losing a valuable source of income than she is about MTV’s failure to notify her about the rape, although that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s lying. It could very well just mean she’d rather be compensated than see Kenny and Evan behind bars, especially considering they generally have no bearing on her life outside of the show.
Furthermore, Bunim/Murray has SUPER-strict contracts that all cast members must sign before filming the show, that make it all but impossible to sue Bunim/Murray, and I’m sure (having signed this contract herself) Tonya is well-aware of this, which is why she is playing the employment angle, because it’s a loophole in order to get around this contract.
This should be interesting.
Here are the court documents: