If you haven’t been paying attention to Dee Nguyen the last couple of days, then we definitely have a lot to catch you up on.
After a series of insensitive and outright racist tweets, Dee has officially been fired from The Challenge franchise and has lost all contact with MTV.
The official handle for the show tweeted late Monday night,
“As a result of Dee Nguyen’s offensive comments on the Black Lives Matter movement, we have severed ties with her. Out of respect for our Challengers, we’ll air our season as planned. We strongly condemn systemic racism and stand with those raising their voices against injustice.”
The Challenge followed up the tweet with another urging fan to take a stand against systemic racism and police brutality.
So how exactly did we get here? It all started when a fan called out Dee’s insensitive flurry of self-promotional Instagram posts on #BlackOutTuesday by commenting,
“Wake up!!! People are dying.”
Dee replied back,
“People die every f**king day. U don’t know me or what I do. I suggest you wake the f**k up and get off social media.”
When she started receiving backlash from followers, fans, and fellow cast members, Dee then proceeded to defend herself in a now-deleted tweet,
“Idk why some of you think I’m anti-BLM. I’ve been saying that since the day I lost my virginity.”
Somehow, Dee was under the impression that this implicitly racist tweet proved her allyship to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Unfortunately, this was only the start of Dee’s issues.
Dee’s co-star Bayleigh Dayton proceeded to call her out on Twitter and wrote,
“THIS IS NOT HOW YOU SUPPORT BLM. I’m disgusted and disappointed. THIS IS NOT A TREND. THIS IS LIFE OR DEATH FOR US. Posting for clout about the death of black people? Shame on you @deenguyenMTV”
What proceeded was a vicious back-and-forth between Dee and Bayleigh with Dee making personal digs and Bayleigh calling her out for being a racist. As if it couldn’t get worse, Dee then pointed the finger at her castmates and blamed “cancel culture” for the backlash she was receiving.
At the end of the exchange, Bayleigh wrote on Twitter,
“I just want people to stop taking BLM as a joke. I’m not going to let people that I know get away with the disrespect. If you’re ignorant on the issues then don’t address them just because it’s popular. Learn & educate yourself FIRST and then support.”
At one point, Bayleigh’s husband and The Challenge competitor Swaggy C decided he’d had enough and jumped in. In a serious of tweets, Swaggy claimed that Dee’s an attention-whore, a culture appropriator, and is constantly high on cocaine.
A few hours later, fellow cast member Wes Bergmann, a good friend to Dee, took to Twitter to also sever ties with her. Dee had been participating in Wes’ web series, Friends and Benefits, in which a group of competitors from The Challenge are quarantined together to volunteer around Kansas City during COVID. Wes wrote,
“I just got back from work an hour ago. In that hour I’ve learned a lot of things. As a leader, I have to make rough, nuanced, & swift decisions. The decision is to ask her to leave my home and city; effective immediately.”
He later posted a much longer statement in which he called Dee’s actions absurd, insensitive, wrong, and ignorant. He said he reached out to experts to help educate her about her mistakes as well as to help Dee find a “mental health lodge” to stay at since he claimed that her mental health had “deteriorated.”
It’s at this point that MTV officially severed ties with Dee, after which she finally offered an official apology on her Instagram account. But by then, the damage was done.
MTV’s swift decision to cut ties with Dee gives us hope that the brand is finally moving beyond optical allyship and is committed to learning from their past controversies and eliminating racism within its own programming.
As for Dee, it’s not cancel culture that got her fired. It was her overtly offensive, racist comments and tweets that cost her her job.
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Shannon Vize is a freelance writer and content strategist living in Brooklyn, NY. Her writing has been published by Elite Daily, Taylor Magazine, CIO, and Forbes. When she’s not hate-binging the latest episode of The Bachelor franchise, she’s busy trying to dismantle the patriarchy by dissecting the latest anti-feminist theme in pop culture to anyone who will listen.