Danny Roberts Blasts Real World Homecoming for Cutting His HIV Journey: 'Huge Missed Opportunity'

·3 min read

Danny Roberts is taking issue with the reality of reality TV.

The Real World Homecoming star, 44, told the Los Angeles Times that there was "so much to unpack" about his struggle with HIV as he spoke after the Paramount+ reboot series producers cut any mention of his diagnosis.

"I just kept waiting: 'Are they going to shoehorn this into the end?' And then I realized, 'Wow, that's the end of it.' And they absolutely cut it," he said. "It feels like a huge missed opportunity."

RELATED: The Real World Star Danny Roberts Opens Up About Living with HIV: 'I've Been on Such a Journey'

Paramount+ and Bunim/Murray Productions did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

He was diagnosed with HIV around 2011 and went public with his status in 2018, before reuniting with his New Orleans costars for season 3 of Homecoming, which aired its finale last month.

Danny Roberts Rollout
Danny Roberts Rollout

Daymon Gardner/Paramount+

"So much of what I went to New Orleans to talk about was the nightmare of our healthcare system, the nightmare of not having access, the nightmare of the cost and the amazing flip side of the power of these medications [that can prevent and treat HIV]. There was so much to unpack," Roberts added.

Roberts recalled a conversation with a producer, who told him that the storyline was cut because of legal concerns it would implicate one of his former partners. "Their reasoning is so silly. I don't buy it for a second," he said, adding that "the ultimate decision was made that the Julie circus was more important to them."

A rep for Bunim/Murray Productions told the LA Times that the company "has never shied away from sharing stories around HIV and AIDS" since they first premiered The Real World in 1992.

Danny Roberts Rollout
Danny Roberts Rollout

Daymon Gardner/Paramount+

"The Homecoming series ultimately focused on Danny's mental health journey, which he shared publicly with all his former roommates for the first time," the statement said, acknowledging that he did discuss his HIV diagnosis during filming.

The show broke major ground with season 3's The Real World: San Francisco in 1994, during which cast member Pedro Zamora put a much-needed national spotlight on HIV/AIDS before he succumbed to his own diagnosis that November.

Danny Roberts (2018)Courtesy Danny Roberts
Danny Roberts (2018)Courtesy Danny Roberts

Courtesy Danny Roberts

Roberts previously told PEOPLE that he "grew up very afraid of HIV" before appearing on season 9 of The Real World in 2000, on which he publicly came out as gay.

"I was basically a hypochondriac — and it came out of nowhere," he said, adding that his diagnosis meant "grieving a more innocent, healthy version of myself that's now gone; embracing the knowledge that you're now a slave to health care system; and letting go of the deep shame related to it."

"I'm very, very thankful that we live in an era of science that we do now, or I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you. So I just thank God every day we live in the era we do," Roberts said, noting that his viral load is undetectable thanks to the antiretroviral treatment Biktarvy.