MTV reality personality Cory Wharton has landed himself in the center of controversy after he revealed his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Wharton, who has appeared on both The Challenge and Teen Mom OG, sparked backlash on Monday when he announced he would be unable to attend the upcoming reunion special for The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies due to the reunion's vaccine mandate.
In a since-deleted tweet, which has been reshared by other social media users on the platform, Wharton informed his followers that there would be "no challenge reunion for me." He said he would be unable to attend the special "due to my vaccination status." He went on to add that "they are really strong arming ppl now a days," concluding with a simple "smh." The tweet, which Wharton later deleted amid growing backlash, was reshared on Twitter by other users and also screenshot and posted by the @teenmomfanz Instagram account."
Backlash to Wharton's post was immediate, with many The Challenge and Teen Mom fans citing concern for Wharton's 4-year-old daughter Ryder, whom he shares with Teen Mom star Cheyenne Floyd. Ryder suffers from VLCAD deficiency, or "very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency," a rare congenital condition "in which the body is unable to properly break down certain fats (called very long-chain fatty acids) into energy, particularly during periods without food (fasting). Signs and symptoms can occur during infancy, childhood or adulthood depending on the form of the condition and may include low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), lack of energy, and muscle weakness," according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With Ryder in mind, one person commented, "wow unbelievable, especially with Ryder's health condition. Yikes," with somebody else adding, "considering his daughter is high risk he should probably get vaccinated." Another asked, "why are you, as a father, exposing your at risk daughter to a deadly virus??"
Others hit back at Wharton's claim that MTV was "strong arming" people to get the vaccine, with one person tweeting, "how is that 'strong-arming?' Seems to me they gave you a perfectly reasonable choice to either follow the rules they've decided to implement for peoples' safety or not come." Somebody else commented on Instagram," Corey made his choice and now MTV made theirs. Don't whine about it, Corey."
Wharton, who did receive some support for his decision not to get vaccinated, has not responded to the backlash at this time. In addition to Ryder, Wharton is also dad to 1-year-old daughter Mila.