When we think of reality TV our minds are generally drawn to the glossy and scripted world of the Kardashians, but there are a lot of shows out there that are just too real for comfort.
Below are some of the most controversial reality TV show moments that have pushed the boundaries of good taste, but which one will shock you the most?
1. There’s Something About Miriam
This misguided Sky TV program painted transgender people as sneaky con artists and made them objects of ridicule in a particularly vile ruse.
Miriam was a male-to-female transgender woman who had not yet undergone genital reassignment surgery, but the men who competed to date her were none the wiser until a grand reveal that sent everyone wild. Six of Miriam’s suitors were livid about her secret and one allegedly punched a producer in anger. There was a law suit to keep the show off the air, but eventually sky paid the men off in order to nab the ratings their controversy had sown.
2. Going Cold Turkey
There was no sign of the glossy lustre often assosciated with reality TV shows when the UK aired 'Going Cold Turkey,' a series that followed three heroin addicts going through a drug treatment program in order to kick their habits.
Aired twice daily the general public were flies on the wall through the tremors, sweats and heart ache as the former drug users went through the harrowing withdrawal and, unsurprisingly, the show was slammed by many for being exploitative and gratuitous.
3. Teen Mom
MTVs Teen Mom stood by and allowed a disturbing pattern of domestic abuse to unfold without making any attempt to intervene in the toxic relationship.
Amber Portwood was one of the featured moms who appeared in the show with her boyfriend Gary Shirley and their one year old daughter. In 2010 the then 20-year-old mom was shown slapping, punching, and choking Shirley on at least three different occasions, two of which occurred right in front of the couple’s child.
It wasn’t until the episode aired that law enforcement got involved and arrested Portwood.
4. New York Med
NY Med filmed and televised a man's death without the knowledge of him or his grieving family.
Mark Chanko, a husband, father, and Korean War veteran was struck by a garbage truck while he was on his way out to get groceries. Chanko was treated by NY Med star Sebastian Schubl, who was unable to save his life. As Schubl broke the news to the Chanko family, he didn't tell them that a television crew had been in the emergency room as Chanko died. The family had no clue until the following year, when Anita Chanko, Mark Chanko’s widow, saw an episode of NY Med and recognized her husband’s voice as he lay dying, asking about his wife.
Naturally, the Chanko family were horrified and devestated by this extreme invasion of privacy, but a law suit against the show for 5 million dollars collapsed because her case was “not extreme or outrageous enough.”
5. UK Big Brother
In what sounds like a very sordid game of Cluedo a Big Brother 6 contestant named Kinga decided to pleasure herself with a wine bottle in the garden. NOPE.
6. Bum Fights
As if the premise of homeless people being encouraged to bare knuckle fight with each other for money and clothes wasn't bad enough, the men who took part in Bumfights were all tattooed by the producers, sometimes on the forehead and goaded to pull out their own teeth with pliers.
Eventually the homeless people who were paid to appear on screen sued the callous producers for the mental and physical injuries they obtained and the series screeched to an abrupt halt.