A new season of Jersey Shore premieres on Thursday, and like Vanderpump Rules, the long-in-the-tooth series is benefitting from a lot of free publicity that stems from some very messy drama.
As we previously reported, Sammi Giancola will be returning to Shore following a hiatus of several years.
Sammi had good reason not to return when MTV initially rebooted the series as Jersey Shore: Family Vacation back in 2017.
As longtime viewers know, Sammi was in an abusive relationship with Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, and it makes sense that she didn’t relish the idea of once again sharing a house with her ex and filming a lighthearted television series as castmates.
When the news of Sammi’s return first went public, many took it as confirmation that Ronnie had finally been fired form the show.
After all, Magro has been arrested on domestic violence charges multiple times in the years since he and Sammi parted ways, and MTV forcing Sammi to choose between her career and her safety is just not a great look.
But to the surprise of many, Ronnie is back on the Shore after completing an inpatient rehab program.
In fact, Magro and Giancola have reportedly filmed several scenes together for the upcoming season.
MTV has yet to issue a statement on the controversial decision to bring Ronnie back, but it seems that Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has decided to speak out on his friend’s behalf.
“For many years, Ronnie was concentrating on his mental health. And I think that is a very sensitive topic and not everyone knows how to deal with that topic,” Mike told Page Six’s “Virtual Reali-Tea” podcast this week.
“I had, for many months, always had check-ins with Ron already…and as he continued to do the right thing, we saw Ron more and that’s why you see him on the season this year because he, you know, continued to do the right thing,” Sorrentino explained.
Obviously, Mike knows more about his friend’s mental state than we do.
But that doesn’t mean it was the right decision — or even a safe decision — for MTV to bring Magro back for another season of Shore, especially now that one of his victims has rejoined the cast.
Even if Sammi feels completely comfortable being on set with Ronnie, he has two other accusers who are no doubt wondering if and when their alleged abuser will be held accountable by his bosses.
There are those who will say that Ronnie has yet to be imprisoned for any of the charges against him, but were it not for a plea deal that enabled him to get off with probation, he likely would have been.
Whatever the case, the multiple allegations by multiple women, combined with Ronnie’s erratic behavior on camera should have been enough for MTV to justify terminating Magro’s contract.
The stars of Jersey Shore think of themselves as family, and it’s likely that Mike isn’t the only one who spoke to his bosses on Ronnie’s behalf.
But we wish someone on the cast would’ve considered the optics of filming a lighthearted “reality sitcom” with someone as volatile and potentially dangerous as Ronnie Magro.