Former “Are You the One? contestant Gianna Hammer says she was “drugged” by production and “sexually assaulted” by a fellow cast member when competing on Season 5 of the MTV reality dating series in the fall of 2016.
As a result of Hammer’s claims, production and casting on Season 9 of “Are You the One” has been paused while ViacomCBS’ MTV launches an independent investigation into Hammer’s accusations.
According to a story published Sunday by The Daily Beast, the incident occurred one night about halfway through filming of the fifth season of “AYTO,” which was shot in Cabarete in the Dominican Republic, when Hammer says she got very drunk and had a verbal fight with a male cast member.
Hammer says she was taken aside by three producers, who gave her a dose of her antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication Zoloft, though she said she was not supposed to take the medication while drinking.
“I know that my castmates said that I kept telling them, ‘I’m not supposed to do this when I’m drinking. I’m not supposed to do this when I’m drinking.’ They still said it was OK, they said it wasn’t a high enough dosage or something. So, I took it,” Hammer told The Daily Beast.
The following morning, Hammer says she did not immediately remember what had happened, but was taken into a tent with producers to discuss the previous night’s events and was told she had gotten into bed with a male contestant (whom she would not name to the Daily Beast) and other cast members heard her say “no” so they pulled her out of the bed.
Hammer says producers from Lighthearted Entertainment, the company behind “Are You the One?,” asked her if she wanted the man removed from the show, but she couldn’t remember the incident and felt pressured to let him stay.
“They made this comment, saying, ‘He flew all the way out here, we did all this testing for him, he has a perfect match in this house, it would be a lot to send him back, he’d have to spend the rest of the time in a hotel by himself,'” Hammer told the Daily Beast.
She says producers removed the unnamed male contestant from the main bedroom and had him sleep on the couch and cut both him and Hammer off from drinking for the rest of the season. Hammer also says she was asked to sign a document saying she couldn’t talk about the events during filming and as a result, the footage from the incident would never be used.
According to the Daily Beast, Hammer later pieced together moments from the night when she was “drugged” by production and “sexually assaulted” by the unnamed fellow cast member by speaking with her co-stars. Five of Hammer’s fellow cast members confirmed parts of her story to The Daily Beast, including her ex, Hayden Weaver, who also emailed their MTV rep regarding the incident and received a “nasty” response.
“I guess [I] really thought about it and was like, ‘Wow, that was really f—ed up,'” Hammer told the Daily Beast. “They should have never left me in an unsafe position. I’m definitely a changed person after it all.”
MTV, which is owned by ViacomCBS, previously did two internal reviews into Hammer’s claims, the latest of which was in February 2021, an individual with knowledge tells TheWrap. The process began in June of 2020, when Viacom’s vice president of investigations & employee relations reached out to Hammer due to remarks she had made on social media about being “drugged” and “sexually assaulted” on a reality series.
“Basically, she said she had seen some things that were floating around and that it had been brought to [her] attention that there was a possible incident that happened. She was like, ‘We don’t want anything like this to go unnoticed or downplayed.’ We ended up talking on the phone for two hours,” Hammer told The Daily Beast. Hammer says the “outcome” of the investigation was that “the production company admitted that there was an incident and admitted to the pills,” but said, “a situation happened in a hot tub, which didn’t happen, we never even had a hot tub.” Hammer also says she was told MTV would not work with the male contestant again.
Following publication of the Daily Beast’s story Sunday, MTV has launched a new independent third party investigation into Hammer’s claims and paused production and casting on the upcoming ninth season of “Are You the One?”
“We take these issues very seriously and have paused production/casting to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations, the third-party production company and further review our internal safety protocols,” a spokesperson for MTV said in a statement to TheWrap Monday.
MTV has also pulled Season 5 of “Are You the One?” — the season that Hammer competed on — from streaming platforms.
“Are You the One?” production company Lighthearted Entertainment said in a statement to the Daily Beast it “will cooperate with full transparency” in an investigation.
“We are confident that any review will confirm the safety procotols [sic] that we have long had in place on the sets of Are You The One?” the statement said. “We deny the allegations made by the former contestant; throughout the eight seasons of the show, no contestant has reported an incident of sexual assault to Lighthearted.”
Representatives for Lighthearted did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Monday.
Read The Daily Beast’s full story here.