Fan-favorite Leroy Garrett chose to walk away from The Challenge following five finals appearances in his 12-season career. Almost a year after announcing his retirement, Garrett detailed his decision, admitting MTV’s failure to protect him following a racist incident played a huge role.
Leroy Garrett retired from ‘The Challenge’ after 12 seasons
After making his debut on The Real World: Las Vegas (2011), then 25-year-old Leroy Garrett premiered on companion reality competition series, The Challenge, on its 21st season, Rivals.
Many thought he could have won, but he and his teammate had to quit when his partner felt unable to continue. The fan-favorite returned for Battle of the Exes (2012), Rivals II (2013), and Free Agents (2014) but didn’t make the finals again until Battle of the Exes II (2015) where he finished second.
Garrett finished in the finals in three of his next seven seasons and announced his retirement after Double Agents (2021). Throughout his 10-year career, the Michigan native earned a total of $36,500.
At the time, he didn’t clarify why he wanted to walk away from the franchise, but many assumed he wanted to focus on his new life with castmate Kam Williams and his career as a barber. However, almost a year after the announcement, the veteran explained his decision.
He quit after MTV failed to protect him following a racist incident
In a 36 minute video posted to his Instagram account on Nov. 16, former player Leroy Garrett explained why he chose to retire from The Challenge after competing for ten years.
He detailed an incident with alum Camila Nakagawa from Dirty 30 in which she referred to him as a “black f—— monkey” during an argument. The veteran noted how MTV’s security and production team failed to intervene and “protect” him from her racist and “violent” actions.
Additionally, he spoke about the guilt that weighed on his conscience for failing to advocate for himself and Black people at that moment and instead laughed it off, hoping to make others feel comfortable. The fan-favorite also admitted he didn’t speak up due to fear and stayed with the franchise after the incident for money.
However, the 36-year-old noted the person he is now wouldn’t have tolerated it the way he did and forgives his old self for putting up with it. Garrett watched the scene back and narrated the situation, revealing he felt “embarrassed” when she made her comments, and no one intervened. He called out MTV’s security and producers for failing to step in after she “violently” threw a pillow at him as he believes the actions should have resulted in immediate disqualification.
Garrett calls out MTV for continual support for Camila Nakagawa
Additionally, the five-time finalist also pointed out that their failure to intervene hurt him personally because they tell him how much they care for him when they call him to return for future seasons. He also noted production didn’t talk about the incident, and he had to bring it up, hoping for an apology from Nakagawa.
The fan-favorite continued, admitting it hurt him to watch her go on to win the season as it seemed MTV “rewarded” her for her behavior instead of removing her. Finally, Garrett expressed his disappointment in the network for asking if he needed a therapist after the show and continuing to invite Nakagawa back for more opportunities until another drunken incident during spinoff Champs vs. Stars resulted in her permanent removal.
Recently, MTV has affirmed its stand by the Black Lives Matter movement by firing cast members who have tweeted discriminatory statements. However, Garrett pointed out the network is still following Nakagawa on Instagram but hasn’t followed him, seemingly implying it still supports her but not him.
Therefore, he feels MTV isn’t truly standing behind its affirmation to the Black community and calls for the network to cut ties with anyone who makes racially charged statements permanently. The Challenge 37: Spies, Lies, and Allies airs Wednesdays at 8/7 Central on MTV.
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