In recent seasons, MTV’s The Challenge has removed specific cast members from episode footage due to various issues resulting in them being unable to participate in the show.
They did it with The Challenge: Ride or Dies premiere episode, which initially had a few cast members included in the early season filming, but they got mostly removed from the final footage that viewers saw.
As fans have seen by now, there are cast members who show up at later moments in the season. They include vets Johnny Bananas, his teammate Nany Gonzalez, and Darrell Taylor with teammate Veronica Portillo.
Aneesa Ferreira is also part of these veteran cast members, as promotional materials revealed before the season that she’s Ride or Dies partners with Jordan Wiseley. They also appeared in the recent Ride or Dies launch special along with the four other vets mentioned above.
Despite her advertised pairing with Jordan, Aneesa was part of the initial filming with a different teammate, but they mostly got edited out of Season 38’s premiere episode.
This report may contain some minor spoilers for Season 38 of The Challenge.
Aneesa’s initial Ride or Dies teammate reacts to edit
While Aneesa Ferreira is teamed with Jordan in various Challenge promotional videos, pictures, and cast reveal reports, he wasn’t her original teammate for Season 38.
The Challenge vet initially arrived to Ride or Dies with her friend James Simon as her teammate. James, who would’ve been a Challenge rookie, shared a photo on his Instagram back in April of him and Aneesa posing in stunning attire at the Chateau Grande Hotel.
Based on limited details, Aneesa and James were part of that luxurious boat trip with their castmates, where Turabi “Turbo” Camkiran got into drama with Laurel Stucky.
They were also at the house when the cast arrived later to claim rooms, pick roommates, and get to know each other. However, viewers didn’t really see them due to production editing them out.
Funny enough, James still appeared in brief Ride or Dies footage, while Aneesa seemed entirely edited out of the scenes.
Taking to his Instagram Story, James shared a screenshot from Ride or Dies, Episode 1, where he’s standing outside as part of a conversation with cast members Kaycee Clark and Tori Deal.
“Hi. I’m your next-door neighbor and I just stopped over to ask if you kids could keep it down over here,” James joked on his IG Story slide.
It’s not the first time The Challenge has edited someone out of premiere episode footage. That was the case with Spies, Lies & Allies rookie Lauren Coogan. An unaired incident resulted in her getting kicked off the season and almost entirely edited out of the premiere episode.
Lauren only appeared in a few quick instances during the Season 37 premiere, and TJ later revealed she was deactivated, bringing Double Agents champion Amber Borzotra in to replace her.
Why were Aneesa and James removed?
While attentive fans and James pointed out the above scene, most fans probably didn’t realize they were there without reading pre-Challenge spoilers. In Episode 1, the cast arrived at their first daily challenge, and host TJ Lavin revealed that Kaycee and her brother Kenny had left.
He didn’t reveal why they left the show on-screen, only saying that we live in “crazy times” now. However, TJ introduced two teams to replace them. One was veteran Nam Vo with rookie Emmy Russ, and the other was the rookie duo of Olivia Kaiser and Horacio Guttierez.
They brought in the second team because Aneesa and James couldn’t compete, but TJ didn’t share those details during the premiere episode.
A Vevmo forum thread indicated that there were two quarantine periods for the cast and that Kaycee, Kenny, Aneesa, and James remained in quarantine longer than the others.
As previously reported, Kaycee shared that she and Kenny tested positive for COVID-19, which resulted in them having to stay in quarantine. TJ only announced during the premiere that Kenny and Kaycee had to leave the season.
The Vevmo forum spoilers shared that James was a “DQ” and “sent home by production,” There’s further speculation he got sent home because Jordan needed a teammate for Ride or Dies. Rumors suggested Jordan would’ve paired up with his Real World and All Stars 3 castmate, Nia Moore, but she could not participate.
It’s worth noting that promotional videos and highlights of the season ahead show that Kaycee and Kenny will come back to compete. Aneesa will officially join the show at some point, with Jordan as her teammate.
The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.