The cast contract for MTV’s seminal reality show The Real World has been obtained and published by The Village Voice.
It is remarkably similar to those I’ve published recently: the Survivor cast contract and the Big Brother houseguest contract, which are signed by those who reach the finals casting process. For example, cast members agree to be portrayed “in a false light,” agree to hold the producers’ responsible for nothing, and hand over control of their lives and life stories to the producers.
Perhaps most horrifying part of The Real World contract is the clause that refers indirectly to rape: Cast members agree to this statement: “I understand there are risks in any such interaction, including but not limited to, the possibility of consensual and non-consensual physical contact, which could result in my contracting any type of sexually transmitted disease….” Of course, “non-consensual physical contact” could include physical assault, sexual assault, or rape. So if you go on the show, you say you accept that as a risk.
Other interesting specifics from The Village Voice’s summary of the contract’s clauses: Reunion shows pay $2,500, and cast members are required to participate within five years of their season concluding, and they are also required to help out on book or DVD projects, getting paid just $750 for their trouble.
Cast members also have to pay for their own long distance phone calls, promise not to hide from cameras, and have to get “express permission” from producers to change their physical appearance. That makes me think of The Real World Hawaii‘s Justin, whose appearance changed frequently between footage and interviews, thus showing how much the editors cut across time.