Yesterday, people were reporting on the kind-of-gross “if you get an STD while on the show you can’t sue” clause in the Jersey Shore cast members’ contracts:
Veteran entertainment journalist Seth Kaufman , who has written a hot first novel about the cynical business of reality television, tells us that cast members of the MTV show, which is reportedly shooting its last season — and other reality series — have to agree to what’s known as a “VD clause” in which they agree not to hold show producers responsible for any sexually transmitted diseases they may catch while shooting the show.
“What I’m told is that it’s pretty standard for reality shows,” says Kaufman, who refers to the creepy clause in “The King of Pain,” which was just published by Sukuma Books. [NYDN]
So who else had to sign away their right to sue for genital warts? Here we have a copy of the Bachelorette contract that specifies that “”there are risks in any such interactions, including but not limited to, the possibility of non-consensual physical contact; AIDS; HIV and other communicable and sexually transmitted diseases; or Pregnancy.” Pregnancy with a capital P!
The Big Brother (remember Big Brother?) housemates also had to agree to : “get tested for STDS but accept the risk of having sex with someone who might have HIV or an STD despite the results of those tests.”
It goes all the way back to the great grandpappy of reality shows filled with trash people who yell at each other, the Real World. They signed away pretty much all liability, including “gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), Chlamydia, scabies (crabs),’hepatitis, genital warts, and other communicable and sexually transmitted diseases or Pregnancy; etc”, “You may die, lose limbs, and suffer nervous breakdowns,” and even “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.” Yiiiiikes.
Bottom line: from the get-go, reality TV producers did not give a shit about the health and safety of their “cast members.” And further, if you’re having sex with strangers from TV, please please please wear a condom.