TMZ recently posted an article discussing the “missing” episode of The Inferno 2. The episode “To Hell and Back: Hot Gossip From the Inferno 2” is a semi-reunion. It’s clips from the season, many unseen, with commentary from the cast.
The controversial scene discusses how the “mean girls” (Rachel, Veronica, and Tina) would all take pictures of Tonya nude while she slept. This happened in 2004, and it was a different time. The Internet wasn’t as widely used, and the cast could just bring their digital camera onto The Challenge. Then, Rachel holds the screen of her digital camera to production’s camera claiming the “people at home” need to see. The image itself is entirely censored.
To be clear, this is a violation of Tonya’s privacy. It should have never happened, and it should have never aired as silly clip in a gossip show. Based on the time period, it’s reasonable to believe the clip would have never aired if MTV didn’t want to turn it into a joke during the Gossip special.
If you watch the whole episode, you’ll see a lot of the show is just bashing Tonya. Prior to the controversial clip, the cast discusses how Tonya was willing to sleep with anyone but Landon was the only one who took the bait.
In response to the bullying and nude photos, Tonya claimed she scrubbed a toilet with Veronica’s toothbrush. According to her, this toilet was frequently clogged and dirty. Then, she watched Veronica brush her teeth with that toothbrush. Veronica claims this never happened.
Also remember, this is just a clip show that aired instead of a reunion. The cast didn’t gather for a reunion in 2005 because many Inferno 2 cast members were filming The Gauntlet 2. It’s akin to “The Shit They Should Have Shown” with some commentary about the final Challenge and Karamo leaving. This episode has no impacted on the continuity of The Inferno 2 and was really just an afterthought. Fans should really be complaining that the pre-show wasn’t on Netflix. It was a behind the scenes show discussing production secrets filming prior seasons of The Challenge.
I don’t want to imply we should just ignore this incident because it’s over fifteen years old. It would never be acceptable in 2021, and it shouldn’t have been acceptable in 2005. However, we also know Tonya has distanced herself from The Challenge. Worse accusations against cast members and production have emerged after The Ruins. We also know Tonya was dealing with challenging life events while on The Challenge, and she was not able to get in the right headspace while on the show. I worry that discussing this topic will highlight an incident Tonya has tried to leave in her past, as she clearly does not want to be associated with the show.
It should also be stated that not all cast members disliked Tonya. Derrick always considered her a friend, but her best defense comes from CT.
In the episode, CT calls out the hypocrisy of slut shaming Tonya because other cast members did worse on The Gauntlet after Abe got eliminated. He also claimed Tonya was a trooper in the final. Not the best, but she never gave up. It’s nice to see CT was comfortable going against the grain on this topic.