22 Times Reality TV Producers Totally Exploited Their Stars (VIDEOS)

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22 Times Reality TV Producers Totally Exploited Their Stars (VIDEOS)

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22 Times Reality TV Producers Totally Exploited Their Stars (VIDEOS)

We’ve all heard that reality TV is really real, and there are no storylines or scripts — but there sure is manipulation.

As these infamous examples from reality shows past and present prove, more often than not, producers have the upper hand and will film their casts in very compromising situations, from drug tirades to physical abuse —  sometimes even death.

Relive some questionable reality TV moments from Teen Mom, Real Housewives, The Bachelor, and more above, where the series’ stars were undoubtedly exploited for ratings.

22 Times Reality TV Producers Totally Exploited Their Stars (VIDEOS)
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Dean’s Hometown Date, The Bachelorette

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Dean’s Hometown Date, The Bachelorette

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Rachel Lindsay’s season will forever go down in infamy as Dean’s Hometown Date saw him reuniting with his father for the first time in two years. Their relationship had been estranged since Dean’s mom’s death ten years prior. 

 Clearly this little reunion should’ve happened beyond closed doors, and Bachelor Nation couldn’t help but assume producers forced the conversation to go down on-screen.

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Snooki gets hit in the face, Jersey Shore

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Snooki gets hit in the face, Jersey Shore

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While out at a bar in Seaside Heights with her castmates, Snooki literally got socked in the face by a drunken high school teacher — who happened to be a dude, BTW. 

 Rather than interrupt this fistfight, producers kept filming as Nicole’s castmates came to her defense. Mr. Teach eventually lost his job, at least.

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Vicki reacts to her mom’s death, Real Housewives of Orange County

Vicki reacts to her mom’s death, Real Housewives of Orange County

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The Real Housewives prides itself on being real (most of the time), but it was beyond inappropriate that the crew didn’t stop rolling when Vicki got the call, while at a party, that her mother had passed away.

She fell to the floor in tears as her friends comforted her, but it was all just a little too late, in our opinion.


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Captain Phil Harris dies on air, Deadliest Catch

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Captain Phil Harris dies on air, Deadliest Catch

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Captain Harris suffered a massive stroke while out fishing for crab season in 2010. Though doctors thought he'd turn around, Phil eventually succumbed to his injuries a few weeks later.

The documentary series’ cast and crew, plus Phil’s family, ultimately opted to air the episode in which he suffered the stroke and remained in the hospital, and to us, it felt invasive.

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Amber beats up Gary, Teen Mom

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Amber beats up Gary, Teen Mom

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It’s hard to look back at old episodes of Teen Mom and not picture this infamous scene, in which Amber literally beat up her boyfriend, Gary, as a then-toddler-aged Leah watched on.

Producers didn’t intervene, but police did, as the addict was taken into custody (and eventually served time in prison) shortly thereafter.


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Pumpkin spits in New York’s Face, Flavor of Love

Pumpkin spits in New York’s Face, Flavor of Love

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Never ever has a little bit of saliva garnered so much attention! Pumpkin spat in New York’s face during an elimination ceremony, and you could literally see in the background of this scene that the producers kept on filming despite what had just transpired.

Why not try to break up the fight before it escalated, guys?!

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The Kardashians discuss Lamar’s drug overdose, Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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The Kardashians discuss Lamar’s drug overdose, Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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When Lamar Odom overdosed and nearly died at a brothel in October 2015, production temporarily shut down on KUWTK.

However, that didn’t stop Khloe and her family from talking about her ex’s addiction issues after the fact. The story had already played out all over the tabloids — it would’ve been nice if this famous family kept some of the nitty gritty details to themselves for once.

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Heidi and Spencer perpetuate Lauren’s sex tape rumors, The Hills

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Heidi and Spencer perpetuate Lauren’s sex tape rumors, The Hills

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If there was one thing that ultimately led to the demise of Lauren and Heidi’s friendship, it was Spencer spreading rumors that Lauren and then-boyfriend Jason Wahler had made a sex tape.

Even though producers knew this wasn’t the truth, they kept it going for the sake of a storyline, ultimately putting LC’s reputation (and sex life... and best friendship) at stake.


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Taylor discusses estranged husband Russell’s suicide, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Taylor discusses estranged husband Russell’s suicide, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

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Suicide should never be discussed on reality television — point blank, period. However, Taylor’s main storyline on the show was about how her ex-husband had hanged himself, and the lingering effects it left on her and her daughter.

This type of thing should only be discussed in one-on-one therapy sessions, not in front of millions, OK?

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Joseline and Stevie J’s daughter Savannah fight, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta

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Joseline and Stevie J’s daughter Savannah fight, Love & Hip Hop Atlanta

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Fighting with a child is never OK, but clearly nobody told Joseline that. 

The Puerto-Rican princess insisted producers egged on Savannah, Stevie J’s teenaged daughter, which led to this epic altercation between the two.


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Hosea and Leah cheat on their significant others, Top Chef

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Hosea and Leah cheat on their significant others, Top Chef

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Though the Bravo show isn’t typically one to delve into the cheftestants’ personal lives, Season 4 focused heavily on Hosea and Leah’s off-hours smooching.

The issue? Producers knew full well both parties had significant others back home.


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Producers cast racist Lee Garrett, The Bachelorette

Producers cast racist Lee Garrett, The Bachelorette

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We have a great idea — let’s find a racist dude to date our first black Bachelorette! Apparently that’s what Mike Fleiss and co. were thinking when they cast Lee Garrett on Rachel Lindsay’s season.

He had a Twitter timeline full of racist slurs that didn’t get unearthed until after the show aired, and Chris Harrison insisted producers had no clue such tweets existed. Still, we’re not at all convinced.


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Jenelle and Kieffer Delp get high on heroin, Teen Mom 2

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Jenelle and Kieffer Delp get high on heroin, Teen Mom 2

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In Season 4 of the MTV series, Jenelle started using hard drugs like heroin with her then-boyfriend, Kieffer.

Instead of filming her eventual detox in New Jersey, MTV cameras instead shot the twosome high as kites on her couch as she basically almost dies from an overdose. Cringe-worthy.


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Kourtney pulls her baby out of her vagina (twice!), Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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Kourtney pulls her baby out of her vagina (twice!), Keeping Up With The Kardashians

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Delivery rooms are no place for reality TV crews — unless you’re a Kardashian and literally nothing is off limits.

Kourtney pulling out two of her three kids — Mason and Penelope — during childbirth was certainly more TMI than it is exploitive, but either way it made for some great TV!

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A&E doesn’t cancel show after Phil Robertson’s homophobic comments, Duck Dynasty

A&E doesn’t cancel show after Phil Robertson’s homophobic comments, Duck Dynasty

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Though technically Phil’s anti-gay slurs were made in an interview and not on the show, the network kept Duck Dynasty on air for an additional two seasons afterwards, since it was one of their highest-rated series.

Call us crazy, but we don’t think the temporary suspension Phil was given was exactly enough punishment.


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Shay admits to being addicted to painkillers, Vanderpump Rules

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Shay admits to being addicted to painkillers, Vanderpump Rules

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Another day, another reality star coming clean with addiction. 

This Season 4 scene in particular felt more like an episode of Intervention than Vanderpump Rules, as Shay revealed to his wife, Scheana, and friends Katie, Tom, Ariana, and Tom, that he was battling a pill addiction.

It all just seemed so staged as they sat around him and cried, to be honest, when really he should’ve just been getting help from the get-go.


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Jon & Kate announce their divorce, Jon & Kate Plus 8

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Jon & Kate announce their divorce, Jon & Kate Plus 8

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Rather than release a joint statement like many famous couples do, the Gosselins filmed an entire segment for their TLC show around their divorce news. They awkwardly sat on a couch, separately, of course, to officially announce their split to the cameras.

The 2009 episode was the most-watched in the history of the series, so clearly the producers knew what they were doing.


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Producers pit Kaitlyn against Britt, The Bachelorette

Producers pit Kaitlyn against Britt, The Bachelorette

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Most. Sexist. Move. Ever. When ABC execs couldn’t decide which woman to crown the 2015 Bachelorette, they gave them both the gig and instead made the guys “vote” on night one to keep either Britt or Kaitlyn.

Pitting women against women is wrong on so many levels, but anything to create buzz, we guess.


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Porsha alleges Kandi wanted to drug and molest her, Real Housewives of Atlanta

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Porsha alleges Kandi wanted to drug and molest her, Real Housewives of Atlanta

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Season 9 of RHOA focused heavily on Porsha alleging her co-star Kandi wanted to drug and rape her, a rumor she revealed she heard from Phaedra. 

Phae then had the audacity to say at the reunion that producers started the hearsay in the first place!


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Kim is high on drugs, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

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Kim is high on drugs, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

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#NeverForget that before Kim Richards sought treatment, this Season 2 scene happened in which she was undoubtedly high and slurring her words at a party celebrating the opening of Lisa Vanderpump’s SUR.

She later spent way too much time in the bathroom, leading many to speculate she was snorting cocaine while in there. Why didn’t Bravo intervene?

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Duggar family openly discusses Josh’s indiscretions, Counting On

Duggar family openly discusses Josh’s indiscretions, Counting On

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When news broke in 2015 that Josh Duggar molested five underaged girls years prior — some of whom were his sisters — and cheated on his wife, Anna, TLC promptly cancelled 19 Kids & Counting.

However, a spin-off focusing on Jill and Jessa came soon after, where the sisters and the rest of Josh’s family were forced to rehash it all on camera.


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Scott breaks a mirror in a drunken rage, Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami

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Scott breaks a mirror in a drunken rage, Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami

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Drunken tirades are not uncommon on reality shows, but Lord Disick getting hammered, then breaking a hotel mirror with his bare hands, was just too much to bare. 

 Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of Scott’s alcoholism playing out on TV.

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We’ve all heard that reality TV is really real, and there are no storylines or scripts — but there sure is manipulation.

As these infamous examples from reality shows past and present prove, more often than not, producers have the upper hand and will film their casts in very compromising situations, from drug tirades to physical abuse —  sometimes even death.

Relive some questionable reality TV moments from Teen Mom, Real Housewives, The Bachelor, and more above, where the series’ stars were undoubtedly exploited for ratings.