The Challenge's Dee Nguyen Apologizes for Black Lives Matter Comments After MTV Firing
MTV announced on Monday that the network had cut ties with the reality star
Dee Nguyen has issued another, more formal apology for her remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I want to sincerely apologize to my fellow cast members, the production crew at Bunin-Murray and the staff at MTV for my choice of words and actions in the most recent events. What was stated wasn't meant to be hurtful or discriminatory in any matter. It was a knee jerk of a reaction and it's certainly not the way that I feel nor what I meant," she said in a statement to PEOPLE.
"I would love to take it back. But it is out there and to set to record straight. Racial intolerance is intolerable and unacceptable," she continued. "Having had to deal with racism my entire life, ironically through all this, there is a warm feeling I have with the fact that humans are standing together to call out unacceptable comments and behaviors that in the past were rarely called on. Again, we are shown that you can be judged in a second on all social media platforms."
Nguyen's management team, BLVK Management, also issued a statement.
"At this time our team wanted to kindly state we stand strong behind our fellow MTV client Dee Nguyen," the company said. "We respectfully and kindly ask your outlet or business organization to let our team conduct an internal review as this situation unfolds. Our team is as shocked as you could imagine and would like to affirm that BLVK does not tolerate any form of racism whatsoever. We also have an obligation and duty to our clients to ensure their voices are heard and if any of them have made a mistake, allow them to have the [opportunity] to fix it or clarify it."
"We are working on this as we speak and ask for some patience before any further decision is made," the statement concluded.
Nguyen, 27, came under fire for a since-deleted tweet posted over the weekend in which she wrote, "IDK why some of you think I'm anti-BLM. I've been saying that since the day I lost my virginity."
The reality star — who appears on the current season of The Challenge,and was part of the winning team for War of the Worlds 2 — faced backlash from fans and costars, including Bayleigh Dayton, who said she was "disgusted and disappointed."
"THIS IS NOT HOW YOU SUPPORT BLM. I'm disgusted and disappointed. THIS IS NOT A TREND. THIS IS LIFE OR DEATH FOR US," Dayton tweeted on Sunday. "Posting for clout about the death of black people? Shame on you @deenguyenMTV."
Tula "Big T" Fazakerley also weighed in, writing on her Instagram Story during a Q+A with fans that Nguyen "said she was 'blacker' than me because I didn't know the name of a musician and because she hadn't seen me fight and be aggressive."
"I felt like she was trying to make me fit her idea of a 'stereotype,' Fazakerley continued. "After seeing her tweets it just infuriated me even more and felt like I should be honest about my experience."
On Sunday, Nguyen tweeted a since-deleted apology, writing in part, "I am sorry for the insensitive tweet I posted earlier. I was being defensive and not speaking from my heart. But there's no excuse," she wrote.
A day later, MTV confirmed it had cut ties with the star.
"As a result of Dee Nguyen's offensive comments on the Black Lives Matter movement, we have severed ties with her," the statement read. "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."
Ahead of Wednesday's The Challenge, MTV announced that Nguyen will not be a part of the reunion episode.
"As a result of Dee Nguyen's offensive comments about Black Lives Matter, MTV has severed ties with her," the show said before the episode's airing. "Out of respect for the competition and other Challengers, MTV will air the season as planned. Dee Nguyen will NOT appear in the reunion to be filmed at a later date. MTV strongly condemns systemic racism."
MTV encouraged viewers to "take action by texting DEMANDS to 55156."
Early Tuesday morning, Nguyen issued another since-deleted apology on her social media channels, writing in part, "I would like to offer my sincerest apology to my colleagues to whom I have hurt directly and indirectly due to my insensitive remarks."
"Let me be clear I am a POC that cares about BLM," she continued. "I believe in this movement and I'm stepping away from social media to focus on my wellbeing and mental health. This is not a goodbye, it's a I will see you again."
"To my fans thank you for believing in me and for your support. It helps," Nguyen added. "I see every single one of you and I remember your stories. Stay strong and safe my friends."
"Systemic racism can not be explained in a night," he said. "But I tried and made as much progress as could be expected in this short of a window."
Nguyen had been staying at Bergmann's house in Missouri during the coronavirus pandemic. Bergmann, 35, said he asked her to leave in light of the controversy and consulted with a "doctor, a hotline, a CEO and a lawyer" to help her find a place to get help.
In a statement last week, MTV voiced its support of the Black Lives Matter movement, writing that the company "stands against police brutality and systemic racism."
"Enough is enough. #BlackLivesMatter. We recognize that changes need to be made on our platforms, at our company, and in the entertainment industry as a whole," read the statement. "We're committed to making progress and addressing systemic inequality."
Us Weekly first published Nguyen's statement on Wednesday.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.