What Will It Take Before MTV Fires This Teen Mom Trainwreck?

Pop-culture expert weighs in on the transgressions of trouble-magnet Jenelle Evans

By Josh Grossberg Mar 28, 2011 11:12 PMTags
Janelle Evans, MugshotOak Island Police Dept.

How many criminal charges can Jenelle Evans rack up before MTV finally gives the Teen Mom 2 star the heave-ho? The experts say quite a few actually.

Call it the Charlie Sheen precedent.

First, let's review Evans' ever-growing rap sheet.

Before yesterday's arrest in Oak Island, N.C., for that highly publicized brawl, the 19-year-old reality star and her slacker boyfriend, Kieffer Delp, were busted last October after allegedly breaking into an Oak Island house and getting caught with marijuana.

Consequently, she'll be in court April 14 for a hearing on misdemeanor drug charges and breaking and entering stemming from that case. Then on April 29, she'll have to answer to even more counts of breaking and entering, injury to real property, trespassing and making harassing phone calls in a separate case.

With all that alleged law-breaking under her belt, one wonders when execs at MTV might deem her too radioactive to justify her firing.

Don't hold your breath, according to one pop-culture watcher.

According to Robert Thompson, director of the Bieier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University, there doesn't seem to be much outrage targeting the show—mainly because Teen Mom explores the idea of bad role models. And there are so many bigger celeb meltdowns these days grabbing the spotlight (see Sheen, Charlie; Lohan, Lindsay).

"Charlie Sheen was on the network of Edward R. Murrow, CBS, and he got a pretty long leash before they finally took him to the pound," Thompson tells E! News. "And here were talking MTV.  Not only is MTV a totally different brand than something like CBS, but secondly were talking about a show about people who've made bad decisions so it's not surprising."

Thompson says that given the content of the current crop of reality shows, viewers would be more surprised if participants didn't have some sort of shady past. What matters more, however, is the kind of uproar generated by interest groups, such as the Parents Television Council for instance, who track and condemn their bad behavior. The PTC has issued several "action alerts" targeting Teen Mom, but nothing has stuck.

"If it gets no more of an outcry then it's already gotten, I can see MTV executives being able to manage the whole thing," says Thompson.

MTV has repeatedly declined on her previous arrests. Today, a network rep declined to comment on whether the show was enabling Evans' bad behavior, only saying that the brutal fight video used to implicate Evans is not MTV footage and "MTV cameras were not present at the time of the incident."

As for Evans, her attorney, Dustin Sullivan, tells E! News that his office "is trying to investigate" reports that she may have been set up.

But for now, prosecutors are going full-steam ahead.

In a statement to E! News, Brunswick County District Attorney John David says he has filed assault and simple affray charges against Evans and two other defendants—friend/alleged accomplice Brittany Maggard and their target, Brittany Truett—for the simple reason that their actions could encourage similar behavior.

"Essentially, the offense involves a disorderly conduct by fighting in a public place," David says. "Because the offense involves a disturbance in a public place by fighting, the victim Ms. Truett is appropriately charged. The charge is also fitting for a person who actively encourages another to pariticate in a fight. In this respect, we jointly made the decision to charge Brittany Maggard."

David opted to move forward with prosecuting the trio despite Truett initially telling police that she did not want to bring charges against Evans. Of course, once they hit her with the simple affray charge, she changed her mind pretty quickly.

Meanwhile, the MTV series' original bad girl, Amber Portwood, who has previously voiced her dislike for Evans, actually had some kind words today. Sort of.

"My goodness, I feel bad for her," Portwood, 20, exclusively tells E! News. "She's not going to like the world hating her. Welcome to my life. Hopefully she learns from this."

But Portwood couldn't resist a parting shot: "Sorry, but there was no reason for my actions, and neither is there for hers."

—Additional reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum and Katie Rhames