The roots of reality television go back decades, in fact back to the mid 1900s. They were few and far between back then, but there were shows here and there that would document life as it happened; unscripted. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the genre gradually grew, and there were shows about family life and of course nature programs that can be considered precursors to what we now know as reality TV.
The late 70s and 80s produced some decent “reality style” programming, and game and talent shows that could be considered a form of reality TV. Of course there were dating shows as well that demonstrated a loose form of reality. With all that said however, the real explosion didn’t start until the late 1990s and really took off in the early 2000s.
The genre took off after 2000 and has continued to get more popular ever since. This won’t be news to anyone, but there are reality shows for everything, including but not limited to entrepreneurship, travel, sports, pregnancy, obesity, and every lifestyle under the sun. Of course, some of the most successful shows have been based on families who have no business being famous, and following around shallow, dreadful people as they live their pampered, but also somehow miserable lives.
While plenty of reality TV characters are completely likable, those who watch, are primarily watching to see the scum of the Earth have their fifteen minutes. While fiction can come up with some incredibly disgusting villainous characters, real dirtbags are far more troubling. Here are fifteen of the most hated reality TV personalities from the past, and what they are up to these days.
15. Russell Hantz – Survivor
It should go without saying, that when it comes to tragedies, don’t say you were there if you weren’t. There are more ways than ever to verify information these days, and if you’re found to have lied about something for pity, or special treatment, most people will think you’re a colossal fraud. That’s what happened to Survivor: Samoa‘s Russell Hantz. He said he was a victim of Hurricane Katrina, when in reality he was not. He would go on to be on the cast of Survivor: Heroes vs Villains and then Survivor: Redemption. Aside from lying, he was also an intimidating and sometimes cruel contestant, hated by both other cast members and fans.
Outside of the world of reality TV, Hantz owns an oil company and is worth a couple of million dollars. He’s also had his own house flipping show Flipped Off. He also owns a bar in Lafayette, Louisiana and was arrested there back in 2010 after a physical dispute with a female patron. More recently, he got divorced in 2016, and is now raising three of his four kids by himself.
14. Lacey Sculls – Rock of Love
The show Rock of Love with Bret Michaels is the sad, disturbing sibling show of Flavor of Love, the show in which women competed to date/marry Flavor Flav. Of course, Rock of Love featured former Poison frontman, Bret Michaels. Most of the women on these shows were vindictive, nasty people who we can’t imagine anyone wanting to marry (okay, fine many of them were easy on the eyes), but Lacey Conner (Sculls) stood out from the pack in her time on the show. She initiated violence and shouting matches as much as she could, but the head-case would make it all the way to the tenth episode, being the second runner up. Not bad.
Since the show, she has done some other reality TV, including Charm School with Sharon Osbourne. Outside of the tube however, she is a very decent person and does some admirable things; she is an activist, campaigning for animal and LGBT rights, and owns an animal rescue in the Los Angeles area. She has also continued her music career, but her most known band Nocturne, broke up in 2008. Sculls has provided vocals for Lords of Acid in 2010 and 2011, and more recently Pigface.
13. Jon and Kate Gosselin
For those of you surprised that we included both Jon and Kate on this list, our answer is this: they are both awful, and while Jon may have been painted as the bad guy during their breakup and since, Kate is trash as well. Their show, for those unfamiliar or who have forgotten, was Jon & Kate Plus 8, and documented their lives with eight children (twins born in 2000 and sextuplets born in 2004). They got divorced and rather than just admit that they both sucked at being parents and treated each other like garbage, there has been a nightmarish back and forth between the two for the past eight years with accusations of abuse, cheating, mistreating the kids, and so on.
Kate still has the show, now Kate Plus 8, and a new season started back in November, 2017 and she has written a few children’s books.
Jon is no longer a regular on the show and very rarely gets to see his kids, but every few months someone in the entertainment business contacts him so that he can point out what a terrible job his ex-wife is doing with their children.
12. Jonny Fairplay – Survivor
Our first listee was from Survivor but we decided to include another because Survivor really does bring out a special brand of “terrible person”. John Dalton, who changed his name to Jonny Fairplay (despite being a liar) a few years ago, is one of the all-time dirtbags of the franchise, having appeared on 2003’s Survivor: Pearl Islands. He lied about his grandmother having died and when this was discovered, basically everyone involved with his show and Jeff Probst lost what little respect they had for him.
He worked as a pro wrestler prior to his time on the show, and returned to that world after, getting signed by Total Nonstop Action (TNA) and later worked for Dragon’s Gate USA and Ring of Honor. Since 2014 he has been working for West Coast Wrestling Connection. He and a now-ex had a daughter together in 2008, and last year, it was reported that Fairplay was working as a realtor back in his home state Virginia.
11. Stephen Williams – The Real World: Seattle
One of those unwritten rules for reality television is that men should not hit women. Of course, men shouldn’t hit each other and women technically shouldn’t hit each other either, but men hitting women is still in another realm in terms of “scumbag” things to do. Real World: Seattle (1998) housemate Stephen Williams did exactly that, attacking Irene McGee, who was in the process of leaving the show to deal with Lyme disease.
They had a rocky relationship, and Williams already had a reputation on the show for saying several extremely homophobic things. Their final run-in occurred as Irene was leaving and she said that things would never work between the two of them because Stephen was gay, after which he threw a tantrum and slapped her in the face.
10. Aaryn Williams – Big Brother
If you see her from afar, she may look like a delightful farmer’s daughter with a cute personality and a rocking body, but don’t be fooled, there is an ocean of crazy in there. Aaryn Williams (now Gries) was on Big Brother 15 in 2013, and became one of the most controversial creatures that show ever had, saying offensive things that ranged from racist to homophobic and every manner of bigoted one can imagine. It made for great television, and the producers loved it, but fans did not and wanted her head.
She’s managed to rebuild her reputation however, and not only has a family now (husband and a baby daughter) but also has a few jobs, including working on her ranch, planning weddings and has a YouTube channel with over 100,000 subscribers.
9. Omarosa Manigault – The Apprentice
If you closely follow politics or religiously follow The Apprentice, you may very well know this one, but the “villain” of The Apprentice has had an interesting life since first joining Donald Trump back in 2004. Omarosa was very effective on the show as a businessperson, but this earned her the label of villain. She has defended herself ever since by saying that there is a double standard for women in business: if they act like men do, they are criticized and hated.
She worked for Vice President Al Gore in the 1990s and would return to other shows in The Apprentice series. She also continued her education and is in the process of completing her PhD in Ministry. In 2016, she worked on Donald Trump’s campaign as director of African-American outreach. She also played a brief role on his transition team.
8. Farrah Abraham – 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom
There will be a few members of the Teen Mom franchise included here and they are a special breed. It’s hard to judge these girls for being on the show, because reports indicate they make well over $75,000 per season. That’s a very decent paycheck, but at the same time, their kids’ entire childhood is on display for the world to see. I’m no child psychologist, but I’d bet good money that these kids will be a complete mess. Of course there is also the fact that, whether they have money or not, these moms are generally chosen to be on the show because they have dramatic, messy lives, because reality TV junkies like watching a trainwreck.
In Farrah Abraham‘s case, she treats everyone around her like trash, she comes across as universally unpleasant, and it is generally accepted that she is doing an atrocious job raising her daughter. At this point, the adult films are actually the best thing she has done for show business.
Recently she’s been arrested for drunk driving, been on several other reality shows, with little success, including Celebrity Big Brother, on which she was evicted fifth. She has spent a couple of years playing the victim because of two adult films she now regrets, and she released a song and music video: Blowin’. Both are as terrible as you can imagine. A couple of years ago she signed a deal to appear at a strip club in Austin, Texas for a few months. Yeah, her kid is going to be fine.
7. Jenelle Evans – Teen Mom
Jenelle Evans is another absolute gem from the show Teen Mom. Much like Farrah Abraham, she’s hot, but cannot handle herself as an adult. She’s been atrocious at relationships, has disrespected everyone from her parents to the men in her life (in front of her kid Jace, more often than not) and on top of all this, she’s been into drugs and got into trouble with the law (well over fifteen times).
In the past year however, it seems like Jenelle has gotten it together. She’s now a mother of three, most recently having a third kid with her now-fiance David, who seems like he’s had a decent effect on her life.
6. Mike Sorrentino – Jersey Shore
MTV’s Jersey Shore was a painful show to have to watch, but we all know millions were glued to their screens every time it was on. It is hard to say whether anyone liked these cretins, or whether they tuned into see if the gang got into a massive car accident. But we digress, the most irritating of the bunch who wasn’t named Snooki, was Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.
Since Jersey Shore ended, the collective IQ of the North American population rose about three points, but Sorrentino had to find another way to pay the bills. Around the end of the show, he tried his hand at stand-up comedy, showing up and bombing at the Roast of Donald Trump, where he almost got booed off the stage. He’s had a few cameos on television, and has been in a few other reality shows, including Celebrity Big Brother and Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars with his fiancee.
But it’s not all good news for The Situation, who was arrested for a fight outside a tanning salon, and got charged with tax fraud in 2014. Furthermore, he spent some time in rehab for oxycodone several years back.
5. Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton
The show The Simple Life was a great concept, but definitely featured two of the most repugnant people ever to “work” in reality TV. The premise was a good one: two spoiled rich girls, born into luxury and with no skills beyond attitude and b*tchiness were required to do “normal people jobs”. They struggled at every turn and were generally rude and unpleasant to everyone in their path, but the fans loved seeing these awful people do their thing every week, so the show was a huge success.
While plenty of people knew of Paris Hilton prior to this show, The Simple Life was what rocketed her into everyone’s living room. Of course, her “tape” rocketed her to the screen of everyone’s laptop and contributed greatly to her infamy. Despite the early events of her public life, Paris has toned down the negative parts and played up her actual talents. She’s launched a few businesses, including perfume and a fashion line, both of which earn her huge amounts annually. She’s also acted and made music, with some success that we can’t explain. Oh wait, she’s rich and marginally hot, never mind, that’s all the explanation necessary. Nicole Richie has stepped out of the spotlight more than her on-again off again friend Paris, but she still has a lot going on. She gained some notoriety for an arrest and some issues with an eating disorder about ten years ago, but since then she’s started her own fashion line, had a few cameos on TV, gotten married and had two kids. Her husband is Joel Madden of Good Charlotte. The two of them founded a charitable organization as well, which focuses on bringing aid to small villages in third world countries.
4. Heidi and Spencer – The Hills
Heidi Montag wasn’t always awful, but sometimes a monumental d**chebag like Spencer Pratt can have that effect on people. The two of them are among the worst couples ever to appear on reality TV, but have both said that they revel in their supposed villainy. Since their time on The Hills ended they have been close to broke a few times (but have never ended up full-on penniless, to the dismay of many haters) and have appeared as a couple on a few other reality shows, including Marriage Boot Camp and Celebrity Big Brother (now for a second time in January 2017).
These crazy hate junkies thrive on the attention and who are we kidding, people love to hate them, they aren’t going anywhere, sorry. It will be entertaining to watch Heidi age, given her temporary addiction to plastic surgery that will make her look extra ridiculous when the sagging and wrinkles show up.
3. Tiffany Pollard – Flavor of Love
So we already dealt with a member of the cast from Rock of Love, but no list of dreadful reality stars would be complete without Tiffany “New York” Pollard. While not as violent as some of the others we’ve listed, she was just as aggressive and clashed with almost everyone on her show. She really was the HBIC (Head B*tch in Charge).
People who are dedicated to following the world of reality TV will likely know this, but Pollard has made a career for herself by being insufferable on a variety of shows. She started out on the I Love New York shows, and then a couple more shows that specifically followed her as she tried to become a professional actress. She ended up taking a couple of years off after 2011, but returned to reality TV in 2016 with a vengeance. This year she will be a cast member of Famously Single, a show about celebrities with difficult love lives.
2. Jonathan Baker – The Amazing Race
Jonathan Baker and his wife Victoria Fuller, a former Playboy model, were a pair of contestants on the sixth season for The Amazing Race. The two of them had a relationship that they both admitted was very rocky, but he became a notorious villain in the world of reality TV when he shoved Victoria, hard enough to almost put her on the ground, after she caused them to lose a leg of the race. Nobody could stand him after that, and some fans even found that season difficult to watch after this event.
The two are divorced now and despite having assaulted his wife on television, Jonathan Baker is now a director in Hollywood, with a movie coming out this year; Inconceivable. The synopsis of the film says it’s about an abused mother who moves to a new town.
1. David Rainey – The Real World
This goes all the way back to the mid 1990’s and David “Puck” Rainey was on The Real World: San Francisco, and became one of the most hated people in reality TV history. Rainey craved attention but got it for all the wrong reasons while on the show, clashing with everyone in the house but none more than HIV-positive Pedro Zamora, who he bullied constantly. He was the first person to be evicted from a house on the show.
Throughout much of the 2000s, Rainey did odd jobs to make ends meet. He spent a couple of years in prison for stalking a woman. After his release, according to TMZ, he found work as a makeup artist, but hated working with “ugly, stinky chicks”. A few years ago, MTV caught up with him, and he was living off the grid on a farm in California with his third wife and their kids.