'Buckwild' star fired from sanitation job
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Shain Gandee was introduced to the MTV world last week during the premiere of "Buckwild" as a fun-loving guy who slings trash for a living for South Charleston.
However, South Charleston officials say he was let go from his job as a trash collector in 2011, months before filming for the show began.
Filming began in spring of 2012, said Candice Ashton, MTV spokeswoman.
Gerald Burgy, South Charleston director of public works, estimated that Gandee, who is part of the cast of MTV's latest reality television show, was let go by the city in November 2011.
Gandee was a laborer with the city's refuse department, Burgy said.
"He (Gandee) voided the personnel policy," he said.
Burgy would not comment as to the specific violation that led to Gandee's termination.
South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said he was vaguely familiar with the fact that Gandee had worked for the city at one time. The show had nothing to do with Gandee being let go, Mullens said.
"He was dismissed for violating the personnel policy," Mullens said.
In the series premiere, Gandee is seen throwing trash bags into a South Charleston trash truck.
Burgy said MTV staff members asked him to sign a release allowing them to film the trucks. He said he refused.
But Mullens wasn't sure if the crew actually needed the release because it was a vehicle that was being used on a public road.
Burgy said he remembers Gandee and he was a "good kid."
"He was a hardworking kid that came to work every day," he added. "He was a fun-loving kid."
Burgy said it was not easy to fire Gandee.
"It's never easy to let anyone go," he said.
Burgy thought Gandee had worked for the city's refuse department for about two years.
He was unaware that one of the city's trucks was filmed for the show and had appeared during the premiere.
"I started to watch the show, but I didn't find it very interesting," he said. "I didn't think it was very funny, either."
The show has sparked some controversy within the state, with many claiming that it portrays West Virginia in a negative light.
Sen. Joe Manchin sent a letter to the president of MTV asking that the show be canceled.
Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the show perpetuated negative stereotypes about people living in the state.
More episodes are scheduled to run at 10 p.m. Thursdays.
About 2.49 million viewers watched last Thursday's premiere, according to "Hollywood Reporter."