Irene McGee

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Irene McGee
EducationBA in English
Alma materGeorgetown University
OccupationRadio podcast host
Known forThe Real World: Seattle cast member, 1998

Irene McGee is a podcasting pioneer[1] who created and hosted No One's Listening, a podcast about the mass media.[2][failed verification] She came to public attention in 1998 as a cast member of the MTV reality television series, The Real World: Seattle.[3] McGee left the show during filming due to ethical objections of the production. In late 2013, she wrote an article for Vulture Magazine explaining her early departure titled "Slaps, Lies and Video Tape".[4] Additionally, McGee released a stand-up routine explaining what happened to her in the days after the slap.[5] In May 2018, McGee started a nonprofit Nap4Lyme, to raise awareness and money for Lyme Disease.[6] Says McGee, "I thought of this idea in bed and I'm hoping with the awareness and money raised from the #nap4lyme campaign we can put this disease to bed. Plus, who doesn't need a nap?"[7]

Early life[edit]

McGee is originally from Pleasant Valley, New York. She graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in English[4] and went on to receive her master's degree in broadcast electronic communication arts from San Francisco State University.[8]

Personal life[edit]

McGee has a daughter named Irene.


The Real World: Seattle[edit]

McGee appeared on the show's seventh season, The Real World: Seattle, in 1998, during which she was described by The Seattle Times as "the cynical girl from New York state".[3] During filming, she appeared sick and was suffering from headaches, and during the 14th episode, she told the others that she had Lyme disease, then left during the next episode.[9] As she was leaving, a heated exchange with another housemate, Stephen Williams, ended with him opening the passenger door of her car and slapping her.[10][11] The producers gave the cast the decision as to whether to evict Williams, and they decided to let him stay if he would attend anger-management therapy.[12][13] Activist Jello Biafra discussed the event:

We know Real World is not the real world. I recently met a woman named Irene McGee who quit this show and said not even the house was real. The fridges were all filled to the brim with Vlasic pickles delivered daily by the crate load along with gallons of Nantucket Nectar. If she drank anything else, the crew took it from her hand and made sure the Nantucket Nectar label was facing the camera instead. When she walked out, another guy in the cast of Real World hit her and the camera guy did nothing ... When she spoke out, MTV sued her. And Entertainment Weekly rated Irene getting smash mouthed the 47th most interesting event on TV that whole year ... Can't you MTV think of a better way to raise audience awareness of domestic violence than to make it look cool?[14]

VH1 ranked the slapping incident as the 9th most shocking reality TV moment.[15] In 2014, MTV included the slapping incident in a list of "The Most Iconic Moments From 'Real World's First 10 Seasons".[16]

Despite the show's portrayal of her having Lyme disease as the reason for her departure from filming, she later claimed in a taped interview aired during the 2000 reunion show, The Real World Reunion 2000, that the true reason was her ethical objections to aspects of the show's production.[17] She has since lectured at numerous colleges and conferences nationwide about media manipulation and media literacy.[18]

Other work[edit]

McGee with Veronica Belmont at Revision3 in 2008.

While earning a master's degree in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts from San Francisco State University,[19][20][21] McGee began a youth-oriented radio show/podcast, No One's Listening, broadcast out of the University.[19][2] The show has included interviews with Noam Chomsky,[19] Lawrence Lessig, Brewster Kahle, Violet Blue, and Jimmy Wales,[22] and won the 2006 Pubbie Award as Best Bay Area Podcast by the San Francisco Bay Area Publicity Club.[23] She has spoken to colleges about media manipulation and reality television, and has appeared on VH1 and E! Entertainment Television.[4] She hosted a talk radio show on KIFR a CBS station called "The Irene McGee Show".[24] She has also been involved with a documentary about Lyme Disease, Under Our Skin: The Untold Story of Lyme Disease.[25] For a few weeks in 2008 she hosted a Revision3 show, Social Brew.[26]

McGee was the co-founder[27] and editor of a health education site, which was acquired by Action Factory.

Most recently, McGee wrote and starred in a one-person comedic storytelling show about her life called "Me, Myself, and Irene."[28]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Fong-Torres, Ben. "Radio Waves". San Francisco Chronicle. December 4, 2005.
  3. ^ a b Mcfarland, Melanie Mcfarland. "Mtv's Series Appears 'Real' In Name Only", The Seattle Times, June 12, 1998.
  4. ^ a b c "Slaps, Lies and Video Tape",, accessed June 14, 2010.
  5. ^ "#TBT: Irene From 'The Real World: Seattle' Shares Her Post-Slap Therapy Story". Retrieved 2017-07-05.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Matt Itelson (December 9, 2005). "'Real World' star studies media for her master's". San Francisco State University.
  9. ^ '"The Truth About Irene". 'The Real World. season 7, episode 140, aired September 15, 1998. "Irene Calls It Quits". The Real World. season 7, episode 15, aired September 22, 1998.
  10. ^ "Irene Calls It Quits". The Real World. season 7, episode 15, aired September 22, 1998.
  11. ^ "Irene Calls It Quits". The Real World: Seattle. Season 7. Episode 15. September 22, 1998. MTV.
  12. ^ "The Aftermath of 'The Slap'". The Real World: Seattle. Season 7. Episode 16. MTV.
  13. ^ "The Aftermath of the Slap". The Real World. season 7, episode 16, aired September 29, 1998.
  14. ^ Biafra, Jello. "Become the Media". Become the Media. San Francisco: Alternative Tentacles. 2000.
  15. ^ "Radio Waves". San Francisco Chronicle.
  16. ^ "The Most Iconic Moments From 'Real World's First 10 Seasons". MTV News.
  17. ^ The Real World Reunion 2000. MTV. May 6, 2000
  18. ^ "Spitfire Tour". Archived from the original on 2014-04-15. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. ^ a b c "'The Real World' Stars: Where Are They Now?". The Huffington Post/AOL TV. March 4, 2008.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2011-02-12. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Itelson, Matt. "'Real World' star studies media for her master's", San Francisco State University, December 9, 2005, accessed June 15, 2010.
  22. ^ No One's Listening website; "No One's Listening Guest List". Retrieved 2007-02-11.
  23. ^ "SFBAPC Announces Winners of its 2006 Media Excellence Awards – "The Pubbies"" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2007-02-11. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  24. ^ Ben Fong-Torres (March 11, 2007). "Radio Waves". San Francisco Chronicle.
  25. ^ "Under Our Skin: The Untold Story of Lyme Disease". Open Eye Pictures. Archived from the original on 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2006-02-01. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  26. ^ Social Brew - Revision3, accessed June 15, 2010; Social Brew is Cancelled - Revision3 Forums Archived 2008-06-12 at the Wayback Machine, accessed June 15, 2010.
  27. ^ "About Us". FYI Living.
  28. ^ "Best Things to Do In San Francisco This Week". TimeOut San Francisco. Retrieved 9 September 2015.

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