Sunday, August 14, 2022

Danny Roberts of MTV’s ‘Real World’ Blasts Network for Not Unpacking His HIV Diagnosis

danny roberts
Danny Roberts in THE REAL WORLD HOMECOMING: NEW ORLEANS streaming on Paramount+. Photo:Akasha Rabut/Paramount+©MTV ENTERTAINMENT 2022

*Danny Roberts of MTV’s “Real World: New Orleans” fame is speaking out about the network’s decision to omit his struggle with HIV during the recent reunion special. 

The Real World Homecoming with the New Orleans cast aired on Paramount+ in April and the 44-year-old star tells Los Angeles Times that producers of the series reboot cut any mention of his HIV diagnosis.

“I just kept waiting: ‘Are they going to shoehorn this into the end?’ And then I realized, ‘Wow, that’s the end of it.’ And they absolutely cut it,” he said. “It feels like a huge missed opportunity.”

As reported by PEOPLE, Roberts was diagnosed with HIV around 2011 and went public with his status in 2018.

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“So much of what I went to New Orleans to talk about was the nightmare of our healthcare system, the nightmare of not having access, the nightmare of the cost and the amazing flip side of the power of these medications [that can prevent and treat HIV]. There was so much to unpack,” Roberts told the publication.

Roberts claims a producer told him that the HIV storyline was cut because of concerns that one of Danny’s former partners would take legal action. 

“Their reasoning is so silly. I don’t buy it for a second,” he said, adding that “the ultimate decision was made that the Julie circus was more important to them.”

The original 23-episode season of “The Real World: New Orleans,” filmed in 2000, and the “Homecoming” reunited cast members David “Tokyo” Broom, Melissa Beck, Jamie Murray, Danny Roberts, Matt Smith, Julie Stoffer and Kelley Wolf in “The Big Easy.” 

You can stream the series on Paramount+.

“The Homecoming series ultimately focused on Danny’s mental health journey, which he shared publicly with all his former roommates for the first time,” a rep for Bunim/Murray Productions told the LA Times. 

Roberts came out as gay on season 9 of The Real World in 2000. He previously told PEOPLE that he “grew up very afraid of HIV”. 

He said his diagnosis meant “grieving a more innocent, healthy version of myself that’s now gone; embracing the knowledge that you’re now a slave to health care system; and letting go of the deep shame related to it.”

“I’m very, very thankful that we live in an era of science that we do now, or I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you. So I just thank God every day we live in the era we do,” Roberts said.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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