The Challenge's Dee Nguyen Returns to Instagram 4 Months After MTV Firing: 'I Found My Zen'
Dee Nguyen is back on Instagram following a four-month hiatus.
The former The Challenge star, 27, broke her social media silence on Tuesday, sharing a photo of herself lounging in a green bikini top, sunglasses and a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball cap.
Nguyen, who was fired from MTV in June after making controversial comments about the Black Lives Matter movement, addressed her online absence following the incident in the caption of her Instagram post.
"I found my zen," she began. "The last few months off has been a blessing for my health. I’ve taken time off to be introspective and I’ve been working on something big."
The Australian reality star went on to thank her followers for their support, writing, "A big shoutout to all my fans for still sticking by me. 🥰."
The Geordie Shore alum came under fire earlier this year for a tweet in which she tried to defend her support of Black Lives Matter. "IDK why some of you think I’m anti-BLM. I’ve been saying that since the day I lost my virginity," she said in the since-deleted tweet.
Nguyen — who appeared on the latest season of The Challenge and was part of the winning team for War of the Worlds 2 — quickly faced backlash from fans and costars, including Bayleigh Dayton, who said she was "disgusted and disappointed."
Tula "Big T" Fazakerley also weighed in, writing on her Instagram Story during a Q+A with fans that Nguyen "said she was 'blacker' than me because I didn't know the name of a musician and because she hadn't seen me fight and be aggressive."
"I felt like she was trying to make me fit her idea of a 'stereotype,' " Fazakerley continued. "After seeing her tweets it just infuriated me even more and felt like I should be honest about my experience."
At the time, Nguyen apologized for what she called was an "insensitive tweet," writing in a since-deleted message on her Twitter: "I was being defensive and not speaking from my heart. But there’s no excuse. I also want to extend an apology to Bayleigh and Swaggy- who are my cast mates and deserve my respect and compassion."
Despite the apology, MTV announced that the network will no longer work with Nguyen and the reality star would not be a part of The Challenge's reunion episode.
"As a result of Dee Nguyen's offensive comments about Black Lives Matter, MTV has severed ties with her," the statement read. "Out of respect for the competition and other Challengers, MTV will air the season as planned. Dee Nguyen will NOT appear in the reunion to be filmed at a later date. MTV strongly condemns systemic racism."
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Nguyen later addressed the controversy and issued a more formal apology, saying in a statement to PEOPLE, "I want to sincerely apologize to my fellow cast members, the production crew at Bunin-Murray and the staff at MTV for my choice of words and actions in the most recent events. What was stated wasn't meant to be hurtful or discriminatory in any matter. It was a knee jerk of a reaction and it's certainly not the way that I feel nor what I meant."
"I would love to take it back. But it is out there and to set to record straight. Racial intolerance is intolerable and unacceptable," she continued. "Having had to deal with racism my entire life, ironically through all this, there is a warm feeling I have with the fact that humans are standing together to call out unacceptable comments and behaviors that in the past were rarely called on. Again, we are shown that you can be judged in a second on all social media platforms."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org tries to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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