Tyra Banks Defended by 'America's Next Top Model' Alum After Pay Dispute

The Tyra Banks backlash continues. The former supermodel is now up against trolls who say she mistreated contestants on her popular reality competition series America's Next Top Model after a former contestant from the show spoke out about her experience. Sarah Hartshorne, who now works as a comedian, went viral after she revealed that models had to fiend for themselves financially, even when it came to meals. 

"We were not paid a penny for being on the show," the former plus-size model stated last week. "We were given a $38 daily cash stipend that we had to use to pay for our own food." She added that producers "didn't even give us a microwave to heat the food up." Hartshorne, who is now 34 and was only 18 when she first appeared on the show, went on to share that the conditions they were expected to compete under were very challenging.

Social media users have been calling for Banks to be canceled for her alleged treatment of the models. But Toccara Jones, who competed on Season 3 of the show, says Banks is being unfairly criticized. "Of course, you cannot cancel Tyra. No…no there's not canceling Tyra," Jones told TMZ

She also is defying not being paid to participate in the show. "First of all, we didn't get paid anything," she said. "It's a contest so there's no payment….the whole purpose of the contest is to win the prize. It's for the exposure. That $40 was a per diem. So we didn't get paid technically, no one got paid. Because if someone got paid then there would be legal issues…and they did feed us but we were able to buy our own personal items if we needed to," Toccara added.

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Banks has come under severe scrutiny in recent years. Many say her behavior on the show was toxic. In 2020, she addressed the concerns on social media, saying in hindsight, she would have done things differently. "Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you," she began in a Tweet. "Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs."