What The Hell Is Going On With ‘Cheer’ And All Its Scandals?

The Netflix series has been embroiled in multiple scandals — and now, Navarro College coach Monica Aldama’s son has been arrested on child pornography charges.
Navarro College cheerleading coach Monica Aldama attends the 2022 Creative Arts Emmys in Los Angeles, California.
Navarro College cheerleading coach Monica Aldama attends the 2022 Creative Arts Emmys in Los Angeles, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty Images

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Just days after the three-year anniversary of docuseries “Cheer,” William Austin Aldama — son of Navarro College coach Monica Aldama — was arrested on Jan. 17 and “charged with 10 counts of possession with intent to promote child pornography,” per Jan. 23 reporting from the Dallas Morning News. In January 2020, the Netflix series introduced us to the nationally ranked Navarro College competitive cheerleading team. As swiftly as the team rose to fame and captivated hearts, the Corsicana, Texas, crew has fallen out of good graces, embroiled in myriad scandals.

In July 2022, former cheerleader and breakout star Jerry Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison for soliciting sex and nude photos from minors. (He pleaded guilty to the charges.) Five months after Harris’ initial arrest in September 2020, team choreographer Robert Joseph Scianna Jr. and athlete Mitchell Ryan were separately arrested and accused of sexual misconduct with minors. Moreover, in April 2023, a former Navarro cheerleader filed a civil lawsuit accusing coach Aldama and the cheer program of discouraging her from reporting a sexual assault.

Then, Coach Aldama retired in December. So, what is the fate of this series? Will the show fade into oblivion? Will it be heralded as an indictment of the perils of competitive, predatory “cheer world” culture? Or will Netflix just conduct business as usual and pivot to focus on rival team Trinity Valley, merely 50 miles away from Corsicana?

The latter wouldn’t be all that far-fetched, considering “Love Is Blind” is still going strong after multiple lawsuits leveled against the streamer. Despite the fact that this “social experiment” has proven time and time again that love is not blind (in fact, it’s actually quite blurry), Season 6 of the series premieres in just over two weeks on Valentine’s Day.

While we brace ourselves for the inevitable chaos, catch up on the latest happenings from this week in The Culture Catchall.

Anne Hathaway, who played fashion assistant Andy Sachs in "Devil Wears Prada," has been lauded for standing in solidarity with striking Condé Nast workers.
Anne Hathaway, who played fashion assistant Andy Sachs in "Devil Wears Prada," has been lauded for standing in solidarity with striking Condé Nast workers.
ANGELA WEISS via Getty Images

We’re Still Talking About It

  • One thing about Eva Mendes? She will ride for her man. Following the hysteria after “Barbie” was “snubbed” by the Oscars — mind you, America Ferrera’s nomination is right there — people were apparently quick to bash Ryan Gosling’s performance. And Eva Mendes had KENOUGH. On Instagram, she sounded off about how Gosling received “hate when he took on this role” and expressed her pride in her husband’s work. Read her words here.
  • On Monday’s episode of “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” rapper Common alluded to a romantic relationship with host J. Hud in an adorable segment. She asked him plainly whether he was single — doing her due diligence for inquiring minds, of course — and his response would make anyone swoon. Last we heard, Common had been linked to comedian Tiffany Haddish. While I didn’t see this pairing coming, I’m rooting for the two lovebirds. HuffPost’s David Moye reported the full details.
  • On Tuesday, workers across various Condé Nast brands went on strike for 24 hours, chanting the apropos phrase “Bosses wear Prada, workers get nada!” while on the picket lines. In solidarity, as a former fictional fashion assistant herself, Anne Hathaway walked out of a Vanity Fair photoshoot. According to reporter Taiyler S. Mitchell, the “Devil Wears Prada” star was notified by a SAG-AFTRA staffer about the strike — and she simply left her hair and makeup chair. Now, that’s a boss move.
Colman Domingo arrives for the 75th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on January 15, 2024.
Colman Domingo arrives for the 75th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on January 15, 2024.
FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

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