America’s Next Top Model winner Lisa D’Amato has slammed Tyra Banks and producer Ken Mok in a fiery social media post that compared her experience of filming the show to a psychological experiment.
The cycle 5 alum — who later returned to win its cycle 17 all-star edition — criticized the series Wednesday on her private Instagram account, specifically calling out Banks and Mok, saying she felt subjected to “insane amounts of trauma” while shooting it.
D’Amato also claimed that Banks blocked her on Instagram, though she was able to tag Mok in the post, telling him to “kiss my *SS.”
“Plz plz be honest with yourself and everyone else when I say DON’T BE SCARED to truly tell how horrible it was in your interview,” D’Amato wrote, referencing the show getting increased media attention as it approaches its 20th anniversary on May 20. “Don’t act tough. Be real. Don’t be scared of the fandom. Don’t be scared of Tyra or Ken Mok. The light is coming through and more and more the fandom are on our side. Speak up and speak freely. Remember this is your life to [sic]! Fight for it! Do you know who is going to stand up for you if you don’t? Do you know who is going to save your life if you don’t?”
She finished the post by likening the show to the controversial 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, which simulated a prison-like environment for participants. “You also have my support. That s— was the Stanford Prison Experiment to many of us,” D’Amato wrote. “Google that s—.”
Representatives for Banks and Mok’s 10×10 Entertainment did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
D’Amato — as well as other past show contestants, including cycle 4’s Tiffany Richardson, cycle 1 winner Adrianne Curry, original cycle 17 winner Angelea Preston, and cycle 24’s Jeana Turner — has spoken out before against America’s Next Top Model, Banks’ popular reality competition series that pitted groups of models against each other for modeling contracts and other fashion industry prizes across 24 seasonal iterations.
Though it was a popular product of the early-aughts’ wave of reality TV, Top Model has undergone a critical reevaluation in the social media age, with many fans criticizing the judges’ feedback — particularly Banks’ criticism of the gap in cycle 6 winner Danielle Evans’ teeth — as well as photo challenges in which models wore makeup and used cultural props to transform into different races on both cycle 4 and cycle 13.
In 2020, Banks addressed the reappraisal in a tweet.
“Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you,” the former Dancing With the Stars host wrote. “Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.”
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