Johanna wearing Gamma Phi Beta letters despite quitting the sorority

Real World Austin cast member Johanna has earned the ire of her former sorority. Apparently, the sorority shirts she wears on the show aren’t acceptable attire for a former sorority member like her.

reality blurred received a copy of a statement sent by Gamma Phi Beta Sorority that says Johanna both resigned and had her membership terminated. What did she do? The statement doesn’t say, but it does say that she’s violating a written agreement by continuing to wear Gamma Phi Beta’s letters.

In the statement, notice the condescension toward “reality shows,” and the scare quotes around the word “real,” which is also written in all caps. Yes, MTV shows have a tenuous grasp on reality, unlike those who buy their friends and send out statements when their sisters for life continue to wear a fucking shirt.

Here’s the complete statement from Gamma Phi Beta (which has yet to respond to my inquiries):

MTV’s Real World, one of television’s first “reality shows”, is the story of seven strangers selected to live in a house and have their daily lives together filmed for broadcast. The show’s stated purpose is to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting “REAL.”

This season, Real World 16 is set in Austin, Texas, and features a cast mate who has appeared in several episodes wearing clothing bearing Gamma Phi Beta Sorority’s Greek letters. Please be advised that the cast mate, Johanna Botta, is not a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority.

Johanna Botta initiated with the Sorority in November, 2001, but she voluntarily resigned her membership on March 12, 2004. Her membership was terminated later that year. As a part of her signed resignation, Botta agreed in writing: “I will no longer wear the Sorority’s insignia.” Accordingly, Ms. Botta is not entitled to identify herself as a member of Gamma Phi Beta or to wear identifying letters or insignia.

Update: A Gamma Phi Beta spokesperson tells reality blurred that the statement is authentic, although apparently there’s more to it. She also told me that “Details about any communications between Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and Ms. Botta are confidential, as are the details of her resignation and termination.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.