Less than a month after Catfish star Yaniv “Nev” Schulman was cleared of a sexual assault allegation in an internal investigation conducted by MTV, the show’s host and producer is speaking out about the ordeal.
“I’m doing much better now. It was a really difficult time for me, as much for my wife and my family,” Schulman — who shares daughter Cleo with wife Laura Perlongo — told People in an interview published Wednesday. “It was tough.”
Earlier this year, former Catfish participant Ayissha Morgan — who appeared on the show three years ago — claimed in a YouTube video that Schulman harassed her during filming and encouraged her to sleep with him to “re-evaluate” her sexuality.
At the time, Schulman denied Morgan’s claim in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “The behavior described in this video did not happen and I’m fortunate that there are a number of former colleagues who were present during this time period who are willing to speak up with the truth,” he said. “I have always been transparent about my life and would always take responsibility for my actions — but these claims are false.”
Production on the reality series was briefly suspended, but filming resumed in June after MTV found Morgan’s claim to be “not credible and without merit.”
Schulman admitted to People that he felt “powerless” during MTV’s investigation. “To be accused of something that I squarely did not do and to have the harsh judgment that followed and no way to counteract or do something in the moment to correct that was very difficult,” he explained. “It was frustrating. I just felt so powerless.”
According to Schulman, the support from his fans and past Catfish participants helped him through the trying time.
“Luckily I had the amazing support of the fans of the show but also of my colleagues, the crew,” he said. “Several people who had been on the show actually reached out to me and offered to speak up in my support if necessary. I’m just so thankful and grateful to everyone.”
Catfish premiered in 2012, two years after Schulman’s documentary of the same name — which detailed his online relationship with a woman who lied about her identity — was released. In each episode of its TV adaptation, which is currently in its eighth season, Schulman investigates online relationships and the authenticity of individuals’ identities.
Catfish returns to MTV tonight at 9 p.m.