Trigger warning: the following article discusses racial violence and contains emotionally disturbing content
Leroy Garrett has been a fan-favorite ever since he first appeared on MTV’s The Challenge: Rivals in 2011. So when he announced his retirement this year, many were shocked that he would leave while still in his prime.
But now Leroy is speaking out about the real reason he’s leaving and he’s not holding back.
In a video posted to Instagram, Leroy explained that he actually wanted to quit the show for years but was too afraid. In the video’s caption, he wrote,
“Hey everyone… I finally decided to speak up about my reasoning for retiring from The Challenge on MTV. This has been weighing on my mental [health] for years, and now it’s time to break free.”
He continued explaining in the video and said,
“For the longest, I wanted to just quit the show. For the longest, I wanted to just retire. For the longest, I wanted to speak up and say something. But in all honesty, a lot of me was afraid. A part of me stayed with the franchise because of money, but I was just lost.”
Leroy then began recounting the racist comments that former cast member Camila Nakagawa made towards him in a violent incident. He says that, at the time, MTV didn’t step in to help or protect him, which made him want to quit the series entirely.
Leroy is referring to an incident that occurred during season 30 aka Dirty 30 in 2017 in which Camila went off on him in a racist rant. She drunkenly gets in his face and says to him,
“You’re a f-cking Black motherf-cking p-ssy.”
She then turns around and aggressively throws a pillow at him and starts to become more violent. It’s at this point security finally steps in. (You can watch the incident here)
Leroy’s patience during the incident is astounding. He keeps his composure through it all. But for Leroy, he felt he had no choice.
In the video, he explains how, as a 6’1″ Black man, he couldn’t get angry or he would risk being seen as “aggressive” or “an angry Black man,” which would only worsen things for him.
Now, as Leroy rewatches the episode, he confesses that the reaction viewers saw from him was not at all aligned with how he was feeling at the moment. He explained,
“Camila is singling me out for being Black, and it’s not that I don’t already feel singled out by the color of my skin because I’m in a room filled with white cast members and they’re all just staring at me in the middle of this room, and no one is saying anything.”
“I feel embarrassed, I’m shocked, I’m upset, and I’m thinking to myself, can someone that’s in a position of power please come and help me? I feel like MTV dropped the ball.”
Leroy is absolutely right. MTV didn’t have his back at all.
Because after being sent off-site for the night to sober up, Camila was brought back to the house and to the competition the next day. In fact, she went on to win and took home a $450,000 prize that season. As Leroy points out, she was essentially “rewarded for being racist.”
Needless to say, Leroy was extremely upset by the way the producers at MTV handled the situation. He said,
“It’s really heartbreaking and sad. And I’ve had a lot of time to gather all of my emotions together but to know that a network that I’ve given 7-8 years of my life to, to everything, you guys are basically just recording it. You guys aren’t doing anything to help me. Nothing.”
Although the incident happened several years ago, Leroy says “there is still trauma that [he] lives with today.”
Camila was eventually kicked off the show — but only after another violent incident that occurred during Champs vs Stars later that year. According to rumors, she’s allegedly punched a P.A. and stole a golf cart.
Sadly, this is not the first time MTV has been called out for enabling racist behavior.
Back in March, SuChin Pak, a former news correspondent for the network, shared on Instagram that during her early years at MTV, she overheard a coworker make a racist comment about her, and leadership refused to do anything about it. She ultimately had to bring in a lawyer to help her because MTV was “fighting to keep this man in a place of visibility and power” despite knowing what he had said.
Also, back in 2020 during the height of the BLM movement, MTV made a big deal about cutting ties with The Challenge star Dee Nguyen and Teen Mom OG star Taylor Selfridge, even though their racist comments had been circulating online for years prior.
Suffice to say, MTV has a big racism problem, and Leroy Garrett is done helping them hide it.
At the end of his 36+ minute video, Leroy gives the network an opportunity to respond. He says,
“MTV, you have my number, you have my email, I’m more than open to having a conversation with you on how we can make change happen. The ball is in your court.”
Here’s hoping leadership takes him up on this offer because this behavior is deep-rooted, and so is the coverup.