A host of the MTV show Catfish, Nev Schulman, has been accused of sexual misconduct and suspended, days after a woman posted videos online strongly intimating that he sexually harassed her during shooting of the programme in 2015.
Catfish follows people who fall for each other online yet often lie about who they are, and grew out of a 2010 documentary in which Schulman got duped over Facebook by a woman who used someone else’s picture and a fake name.
Hosted by Max Joseph and Schulman, who also serves as an executive producer, the show’s seventh season ended in March, but future production is on hiatus pending the outcome of an internal investigation into Schulman.
“We take these allegations very seriously,” the network said in a statement issued Thursday.
While neither MTV nor the show’s production company, Critical Content, would comment on the nature of the claims, the suspension came less than a week after Ayissha Morgan, a guest during Season 4, posted two YouTube videos saying “the main person” on the show, whom she called “Jack,” apparently as a pseudonym, repeatedly harassed her during production.
Morgan, who is gay, said “Jack” repeatedly hit on her for hours, telling her that he didn’t think she was a lesbian and that she ought to re-evaluate her sexuality, and have sex with a man, namely him. She said he also urged her to join him in his hotel room, and asked her to re-enact sex with a woman with him.
“Anything you can possibly say to make someone extremely uncomfortable,” Morgan said in the first of two videos (she posted the second one on the condition of getting 500 likes on the first one).
Schulman denied any wrongdoing, saying in a statement that the behaviour “did not happen” and that former colleagues on the show would back him up, though he did not elaborate.
“I have always been transparent about my life and would always take responsibility for my actions — but these claims are false.”
Efforts to reach Morgan via email, text and phone Thursday were not successful. In her second video, Morgan also said that during shooting she got very drunk with a female production assistant, went to the woman’s hotel room, and that as she was passing “in and out of consciousness,” she woke up to the woman on top of her.
Morgan did not specify what happened, but wrote, in text that appeared in the video, “this situation is so serious and is nothing to play with.” MTV and Critical Comment also declined to comment on this claim.
Morgan also said that the next day, “Jack” handed her a note asking her if she found him attractive. She said she joked that she should co-host the show, and that he replied, “What are you willing to do for it?” She said he also asked her for details of her encounter with the production assistant.
“It’s past the sadness and now I’m angry,” Morgan said in the video.