Popular Culture

15 Reality TV “Stars” Arrested For Violent Assaults


By their very nature, reality TV shows tend to attract unstable, attention-hungry people willing to flip out with the slightest provocation; it’s what people want to see. Some of these newly-minted stars, though, forget that it’s OK to humiliate yourself but not to hurt anyone else. Whether getting busted for on-camera assault or swinging cats at their partners in private life, here’s fifteen of reality TV’s most memorable violent personalities. 

Jenelle Evans, Teen Mom 2

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Even by the standards of MTV’s pseudo-social-service program “Teen Mom” — a show devoted to capturing deeply unqualified teenage mothers in full trainwreck mode — Teen Mom 2’s Jenelle Evans was problematic. Jenelle just wanted to hang out on the beach, maaaan, which led to her exasperated mother Barbara successfully suing for custody. A week before the show premiered, Evans and boyfriend Kieffer Delp were arrested for breaking into an empty house and smoking pot. On March 27, Evans was arrested again, this time for fighting one Brittany Truett, who she was convinced was flirting with Delp. She landed eight blows to the head, all of which ended up going viral on YouTube. Evans is still living with the same people — a tense situation — and keeps a padlock on her bedroom door. 

Amber Portwood, Teen Mom

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Evans wasn’t the first “Teen Mom” to be arrested for assault. During the first season, Amber Portwood hit, choked and shoved around her baby’s daddy and fiance Gary Shirley. The footage aired on MTV, an investigation was launched and Portwood faced assault charges three months later. Regardless, the couple got back together even though a court order prevented mother, daughter and father from all living together. Unsurprisingly, Shirley noted on Twitter that his relationship with Amber is “a lot healthier nowadays.” Regardless of her own troubles, Portwood took the time to slag on Jenelle Evans. “I pretty much despise what she stands for,” she informed E! News. “She’s an idiot and I don’t care if people know or not.” 

Mary Delgado, The Bachelor

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During the sixth season of “The Bachelor,” Byron Velvick decided his best chance for marital bliss lay in marrying Mary Delgado. What he got instead were a series of DUI and assault arrests, culminating in Delgado’s arrest after an airing of “The Bachelor: After The Final Rose.” During that 2007 reunion show, Velvick shook his head “no” when asked if getting married was a good idea. Delgado didn’t notice (or understand why the audience was laughing) until she saw it an hour later on TV and punched Velvick, splitting his upper lip. The couple made nice and got back together — “You come to a better understanding if the love is real,” Velvick explained —before finally splitting for good in 2009. 

Matt McDonald, Big Brother 9

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On a show that’s sported more than its fair share of dumb, violent males, Matt McDonald — a veteran of season nine of “Big Brother”—was particularly impressive. At one point he was charged with running a drug ring alongside season 9 winner Adam Jasinski, McDonald was arrested in April 2010 for domestic violence. First, he accused his pregnant girlfriend of cheating on him and strangled her (but only a little). The next day, he accused her of pouring water down his plasma TV and started punching her arms and kicking her collarbone. The woman called her dad for help. When the police came, McDonald claimed he was just defending himself. From jail, McDonald called the woman four times in two days, while his family kept calling her and showing up at her place of work in an attempt to get her to drop the charges. Instead, McDonald was arrested yet again. 

Justin Sebik, Big Brother 2

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Another disreputable contest came much earlier, during season two of “Big Brother.” It was then that Justin Sebik was kicked off the show for drunkenly holding a knife to the throat of Krista Stegall, asking if she’d get mad if he killed her. Stegall was too drunk to remember the incident. After his dismissal from the show, The New York Times did the fact-checking CBS should’ve done and learned Sebik had been arrested five times in his hometown of Bayonne, New Jersey, including three arrests for assault. After leaving the show, it happened again, with Sebik’s new girlfriend found on the street with a broken ankle and choke marks around her throat. 

Victor Ebuwa, Big Brother 5 [UK]

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Even the original, British “Big Brother” has had its troubles with alumni criminals, though theirs are a little tamer. Victor Ebuwa was on the fifth installment in 2004; kicked off after a fight (his fans sent in death threats), he was removed but finished in fourth place. A sparky presence on camera, Ebuwa went on to a reasonably successful career on other reality shows. Last year, Ebuwa got into a fight with two men in an East London bar. Charged with common assault, details of what happened have yet to fully emerge (apparently the two were taunting Ebuwa about a recent TV appearance). He took to a fanpage message-board online to clarify that he still wanted to be friendly and accessible to his fans. “If you see me,” he wrote, “feel free to come over and pinch my buttocks (you can’t miss them lol), unless you’re a man that is :).” â€¨ 

Corey Harrison, Pawn Shop

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Corey Harrison is the 27-year-old son of Rick Harrison, the protagonist of the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars.” The show focuses on the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, where father and son Richard and Rick Harrison prepare to pass the family business down to Rick’s son Corey. Corey’s been at odds with his family before: on one episode, he bought a hot air balloon for $38,000 without consulting with his father, who demanded any purchase over $10,000 be approved first. But Corey ran into more significant trouble at Murray’s Saloon & Bar in Big Bear Lake, California (a resort town some 80 miles from Los Angeles), where he got into an argument with another patron and ended up shoving a deputy and sheriff while resisting arrest. Town police, with the pragmatism of a perpetual beach town, let him sober up in the drunk tank, gave him a citation, and let him go. 

Kenley Collins, Project Runway

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Kenley Collins grew up in Pompano Beach, Florida, studied marketing at Florida State University and moved to New York to quietly work in fashion. Then she got chosen to appear on the fifth season of “Project Runway”and everything changed. She came in third, but her bratty whining about the criticism from the panel of finale judges and bad attitude earned her equal amounts of haters and fans. After the show was done, she moved in with her fiance Zak Penley. He called the police after Penley threw a laptop, cat, apple and water at him. She said she was just trying to hand over the cat to get Penley to feed him; he said she’d told him he was lucky and it could’ve been a lot worse. After two days in jail, Penley reemerged, saying jail had inspired her to move onwards and upwards. 

Jason Wahler, Laguna Beach/The Hills

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Once, Jason Wahler was Lauren Conrad’s boyfriend on “The Hills.” With a terrific pre-existing arrest record — hitting tow-truck drivers and city employees alike, DUI, and underage drinking in North Carolina — Wahler got into even more trouble after breaking up with Conrad. Wahler — long out of reality-TV exposure — was “reportedly close” to getting on the fourth season of “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” before he was arrested for hitting a woman at a party in Hollywood. After that, he checked into Dr. Drew’s institute, though he insisted the show’s producers wanted him to drink beforehand to make his rehab ultra-dramatic and he just wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. 

Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Jersey Shore

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Less popular than Snooki (who got $32,000 to speak at Rutgers), less overtly sleazy than “The Situation” (who made a commercial for safe sex alongside Bristol Palin), Ronnie Ortiz-Magro had basically been known as the dude on “Jersey Shore” who no one was particularly enamored with, ironically or otherwise. Then Ronnie was finally charged for an on-camera fight in season one, during which he hit a man with, as the legal paperwork said, “a closed fist.” Ronnie was unrepentant: “I really don’t feel bad for the altercations that I did get into in Seaside,” he explained, “because I’m really not a person who likes to fight. He was just being a drunk jerk.” Despite his “legal trouble”, Ronnie was able to get a decent deal: in return for staying out of trouble for the next year, he’ll get to join the “Jersey Shore” cast for a fourth season in Italy. â€¨ 

Markice Moore, From G’s To Gents

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In truth, Markice “Kesan” Moore had more to offer the world than one episode’s worth of time on “From Gents To G’s,” a dimly remembered MTV show in which hip-hop umbrella entrepreneur (no, really) Fonzworth Bentley helps ill-mannered youth become upstanding gentlemen. Moore also had a guest appearance on Tyler Perry’s “Meet The Browns” and a role in “ATL.” And yet, a strange fact: when Moore was arrested on charges of breaking two of his baby daughter’s arms (plus one leg, three ribs and her collarbone), every write-up noted him largely as a “reality star,” perhaps indicating how much bad that term has come to represent. Moore, for his part, insisted on his innocence. “That’s not for y’all to do!” he declared. “That’s God’s decision! Not even the courts can judge me.” 

Catya “Cat” Washigton, Bad Girls Club Miami

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During her time on the fifth season of “Bad Girls Club,” in which various ill-mannered young ladies are given lots of liquor and a mansion to fight in, Catya “Cat” Washington threw sand and drinks at people in between spitting on them. Still, Cat proclaimed herself too “high class” for the show and left midway through the season. Then she got arrested twice: the second time was for possession of party favors (coke, pot, mushrooms, a gun) as well as aggravated assault. The first time, though, had more details on the violence front. After rear-ending the wife of a man she was seeing, Cat emerged, started shouting, and then used both a chain and mace on the woman. 

Kelly Killoren Bensimon, The Real Housewives of New York

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Kelly Killoren Bensimon joined “The Real Housewives of New York”in its second season. During its third, she flipped out and declared that fellow housewife Bethanny Frankel was trying to kill her, at one point accusing her of acting like Al Sharpton. In real life, the equally volatile Bensimon was arrested on misdemeanor assault charges after allegedly punching boyfriend Nicholas Stefanov, leaving him with a black eye and a gash on his left cheek. The case was dismissed, but not before Bensimon’s lawyer found time to mock Stefanov. Asked if the situation could be termed a “lover’s quarrel,” attorney Ed Hayes responded “I don’t even know if I qualify him as a lover. How about a jilted moron?” 

Bryan Masche, Raising Sextuplets

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Bryan and Jenny Masche met online, while he was still stationed overseas. Back home, they married and proceeded to have sextuplets, pretty much automatically guaranteeing them a reality show. When season two ended in August 2010, the family was experiencing financial tensions which evidently coalesced in September, when Bryan’s father-in-law called the cops on him as the harried father was loading three children and some guns into a van. When police came, they arrested Bryan on domestic violence charges (he also apparently threatened to “flatten” his father-in-law). Bryan insists he’s a good father, noting that he forgives his wife for any mistakes she made in the marriage and hoping she can do the same. 

Sara Stokes, Making The Band 2

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Sara Stokes was a member of Da Band, a hip-hop squad formed by Diddy as captured on MTV’s catfight-heavy “Making The Band.” Eventually, Diddy dissolved the group and Stokes retreated back to private life. She re-emerged in 2009 when she was charged with assaulting her husband. She said he fell and cut himself on the sink; the police said she fell down, blamed him for it, and then proceeded to stab him in front of their three children. Last year, it was husband Tony’s turn to be accused of choking and hitting Sara. “Everybody speculates and blows things out of proportion,” he explained, before hinting his want for more of the brief fame his wife had had. “It’s a crazy kind of life. We’re dysfunctional. We need our own TV show. I love my wife.”


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