The Teen Mom OG finale episode featured a terrifying scene in which Ryan Edwards is seen driving while obviously high. He nods off repeatedly as he struggles to keep his eyes open before his fiance Mackenzie Standifer, who is in the passenger seat, turns off the dashboard cameras and is then heard asking “Did you take Xanax again?”
The disturbing scene, which was preceded by a warning message for viewers from MTV, had many questioning the ethics of Teen Mom OG producers for allowing Ryan to drive in the condition he was in given that he was a threat to his own safety as well as Mackenzie’s and anyone else on the road at the time.
One of the crew members spoke anonymously with The Ashley’s Reality Roundup to clarify their culpability in the incident:
“The reason the producers didn’t stop Ryan from driving after he was seen nodding off is because the producers would not have been able to see him nodding off,” the crew member tells The Ashley. “That footage (and almost all car footage) is captured on Go-Pro cameras installed on the dashboard. We do not have a live feed to watch the cast in their car, despite what some viewers think. We do not have live eyes on them the whole time we’re filming them.
“That footage is captured and watched a few days later after the producers/crew get home from the shoot. It’s edited in later. When things happen in the car, we don’t know about it until the cast tells us, or when we watch the footage later on.”
It’s clear that there are no crew members in the car with Ryan and Mackenzie, but they often travel in another vehicle. “Even if the crew was following Ryan while driving, they weren’t in the car with him and could not see what was happening,” the source says. “Had he been violently swerving or something, they absolutely would have called to see what was happening and would have intervened. In that situation, though, the only person aware of what was happening would be a passenger in the car.”
Although the source doesn’t say Ryan and Mackenzie were being followed by a crew member, I feel it is important to point out that he was swerving, though it doesn’t seem to be violently. “Why are you swerving?” Mackenzie asks Ryan early on in their trip.
“My eyes babe!” Ryan responds, still wearing his sunglasses at this point. “In the sunlight, I can’t keep ’em open.”
A common theme to those upset at show producers is accusations that they will “do anything” for higher ratings. The crew source adamantly denies this, pointing out that not only are they personal friends with most all of the cast members, they are also on the hook legally if something were to happen. “The show would have been absolutely liable had Ryan gotten into an accident or something while filming, even if the producers were not aware that he was under the influence. It doesn’t matter, we are still liable. They would be risking their jobs and possibly be liable personally for allowing that to happen.”
The source does not address the fact that Ryan appeared to CLEARLY be high in a scene shot prior to him driving Mackenzie to their wedding. In that scene, Ryan is talking with Mackenzie about the wedding happening in a just a few hours, and he is already having difficulty keeping his eyes open:
Even if producers were to claim that the time that elapsed between this scene and the other was too much for them to know that he was still high, Ryan staggers away from Mackenzie in the earlier scene and frantically yells “I need to take a shower after I get done taking a haircut,” before getting in his truck to drive away.
There was also the moment that Ryan arrived to pick Mackenzie up. (You might recall his big “Wow!” when he first saw Mackenzie in her dress.) Given how he was acting shortly before, should the crew have at least taken him aside to ascertain if he was OK to drive? I realize that all of this is in hindsight, but Ryan was so clearly and severely under the influence in the previous scene, that somebody should have said or done something (Mackenzie included!) before letting him get behind the wheel.
On a side note, some viewers have pointed out that in the scene with Mackenzie, while Ryan is playing with a remote controlled car, you can see what appears to be a scar on his let forearm. It resembles a needle injection scar, which has some speculating that Ryan may have been using heroin:
If Ryan was using heroin, it would apparently be in addition to Xanax. In the driving scene, Mackenzie turns off the dashboard cameras but seemingly forgets that she is still wired for audio when she asks Ryan, “Did you take Xanax again?”
“I don’t… I don’t have any,” Ryan responds.
“You did,” Mackenzie affirms, but Ryan remains in denial. “I put that on my kid’s life,” he says.
On a positive note, one day after his secret May 15 wedding, Ryan checked into a rehab facility. The Teen Mom OG dad finally confirmed his rehab stint in a statement issued to Us Weekly:
A little over 30 days ago, I made the decision to check myself into a rehabilitation facility. I am back home now doing well, and life could not be better. Without the support of my wife and parents I would not have been able to do this. Thank you all for your well wishes.
Us Weekly also got a statement from MTV about the driving scene with Ryan, which mirrored that of The Ashley’s crew source — albeit in less detail:
MTV does not condone driving under the influence. Ryan’s erratic behavior was due to actions that he took without anyone’s prior knowledge.
The scene in the finale also had folks looking back at Ryan’s car crash in December of 2014. Ryan was seriously injured after hitting another woman head-on. Multiple sources told TMZ that they witnessed Ryan’s car “swerve across double yellow lines — while apparently speeding — and smash into another woman’s vehicle.”
That accident has many speculating that Ryan’s drug abuse issues may have been going on for a long time, which would confirm what his ex Dalis Connell has recently said.
Either way, it is obviously better to have Ryan’s drug abuse problems FINALLY out in the open. It’s great to know that he took the step to enter rehab — I just hope that the 30 days (plus whatever outpatient therapy he is currently receiving) will be enough to get his life back on track.