The Challenge Champ Catches Heat Over Video About Disabled Person

Parking Sign

Getty A sign indicating a parking space for vehicles of persons with reduced mobility is seen at the entrance to a car park near Lille, northern France, on September 17, 2019.

Former “The Challenge” champ Dee Nguyen has found herself at the center of controversy again after she was called out for comments she made about a disabled person, and the Australian reality star later apologized and called it a “joke.”

The “War of the Worlds 2” champ uploaded a TikTok video in May 2022 in which she spoke about an exchange she’d had with a man she met on dating app Hinge, Kyle Montgomery. In the video, she said, “I was casually swiping through Hinge, get this little response to one of my prompts,” showing that the response was, “Let’s go dance together.” Dee then showed Montgomery’s photo, revealing that he was in a wheelchair before she hid a smile with her hand and ended the video. The clip was deleted from her TikTok but is available later in this article.

Montgomery called Dee out by reposting her video and encouraging other people to share their own stories of being on the receiving end of ableist jokes. He wrote on Instagram, “This isn’t about retaliation, This is about harmful casual ableism. Disabled people are just people. Please help me spread awareness so others don’t get shamed like me.” According to Montgomery’s Instagram bio, he is an artist an podcast host from Australia and a “C4 quadriplegic since 29 March 2019.”

Dee was also called out for the comment by another “Challenge” star and later apologized for her video.

As “Challenge” fans know well, this isn’t Dee’s first time coming under fire for her comments on social media. MTV publicly cut ties with Nguyen halfway through the “Total Madness” season after comments she made during the Black Lives Matter movement. The network subsequently edited the reality TV personality out of future episodes until her elimination.

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Laurel Stucky Called Out Her Former Co-Star & Slammed Her for Her Comments

Dee’s “War of the Worlds 2” co-star Laurel Stucky took to social media to publicly criticize Dee and share her reaction to Dee’s comments. According to the Challengeteaa Instagram, who shared a screenshot of Laurel’s comments, the “Free Agents” champ wrote, “Has Dee learned nothing? After [Montgomery] asked Dee if she could make a public apology she blocked him.” She added:

We all make mistakes in life but owning up to them and admitting you’re wrong is what makes hurtful situations a little more bearable.

If you are afraid to admit when you have messed up and you continue to do the same thing over and over again – especially when that involves hurting people that are in wheelchairs or people that are marginalized or people that are too afraid to speak up for themselves – then you have a lot of internal work to do to truly find out where your hatred comes from.

Laurel said she’s no stranger to making a big public mistake but explained that she “recognized that was not the person I wanted to be” and she worked hard on becoming a better person. She wrote that the situation “bothers” her and concluded, “Dee owes this man a genuine, heartfelt apology. Check out and go support his art. He is SO TALENTED. And he never deserved to see ANYONE talk about him or make fun of the fact that he is in a wheelchair.”

Dee Posted an Apology Video on TikTok & Explained Her Decision to Make the Original Video

Dee apologized to Montgomery in a subsequent TikTok video and also in a reply to his Instagram post calling her out. She wrote, “I’m sorry for any hurt I’ve caused, it was never my intention. I’ve posted an apology TikTok, I hope you can forgive my actions. Thank you for holding me accountable!”

In her TikTok apology video, the former “Challenge” competitor explained that she saw a prompt on his profile that said he enjoyed dark humor which is why she made the “joke” but as soon as she found out that he was hurt she said she reached out to him. “I listened to one of his voice prompts and his voice prompt said if you’re not a fan of f***** up dark humor then we probably won’t get along,” she explained, adding that she thought it was a pun.

I didn’t mean to post that video in a way that was mocking him. So when he reached out saying that he was thoroughly upset I personally DMed him and said I was sorry.

Dee showed the DM she sent him where she called her comment a “joke” and added, “I didn’t realize the impact of my video and the extent of hurt that Kyle felt. And I was genuinely remorseful for it, I don’t like hurting people purposely and it wasn’t my intention to hurt him.” She concluded, “So genuinely from the bottom of my heart I am sorry Kyle and I am sorry to the whole disabled community for any hurt or upset that you felt by my video.”

She said she’s still learning and hopes that Montgomery can forgive her and that they might be able to meet in the future.

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