The reputation of Bob Holly being this 'abuser of young talent' began with the Tough Enough segment involving Matt Capotelli. The standard headline was "Bob Holly brutally attacks young Tough Enough contestant. He should be fired!"
Now in reality Bob Holly wasn't fired...or suspended...or even reprimanded. Now if there were all these witnesses to his 'crime', including producers, trainers, camera men, etc then how could his 'actions' go unpunished? Here are the reasons why:
Tough Enough is a reality show, and like all shows in it's genre the content is mnipulated for effect by the producers.
Bob Holly was cast to play the 'bad cop' type trainer throughout the show in various segments. In other words he was playing a role as instructed.
In the 'infamous' wrestling segment the producers planned out and instructed Bob Holly BEFOREHAND to vividly lay into Matt Capotelli during the match. Why? The idea and entire focus of this planned segment was this kid was among the top prospects to win. The producers wanted to test him to see how he would react in a pressure situation. In theory it makes for more compelling television. In practice years after the fact fans still refer to the segment, although largely as an attack on Bob Holly's character.
Did Matt Capotelli know about the segment before hand? No...the kids are never told how they will be positioned in the segments. The idea is to get spontaneous reactions. However IMMEDIATELY AFTER the Holly incident the kid extended his hand to Bob and 'thanked' him. Why? Because he realized it was a manipulated situation where his actions were being spotlighted and tested by both the producers and for later airing with a broader audience. Nothing was personal.
I'd add that later on EDITED OUT of the television show was Bob going up to Matt one on one to privately explain the specifics behind what happened in the ring and why. The two actually worked a program together later on in OVW (when Bob came back from rehab) and he put the kid over using the 'infamous' Tough Enough segment as a base premise.
My take is simple: That day Bob Holly did his job as he was told to by the producers. While it's open to interpretation as to whether he went 'too far' during the planned segment, what happened was not a case of a 'bully' taking advantage of a rookie. It's an example of a guy performing as he was told to do so on a television show meant to entertain people and get a reaction.
I'd add there are a lot worse ways for someone to break into the business than getting fifteen minutes of fame on MTV and being purposely positioned in a way to get sympathy in order to win a contest and cash prize.
As for Dupree/Holly, they were both unprofessional. Leading up to the incident Holly did Dupree a FAVOR by helping him get a rental car. Dupree repaid him by getting a ticket, deciding to throw it away and then choosing to screw Holly over by not telling him about it.
Bob eventually found out about it through a subpoena that was sent to his home and which left his wife upset. He had to pay out of pocket for airfare to fly out and spend a day in court to pay off the ticket...all thanks to Dupree.
When Holly flew back he went to confront Dupree...who chose to blow him off, refused to reimburse him and hid behind the agents backstage to avoid him. Later that night when Holly got him in the ring during a tag match he flipped out busted up the kids eye, challenged him to a fight after the match was over and literally chased him to the back.
Vince had two choices: Fire them both or tell them to put it behind them, act like professionals and just move on. My take is they were both in the wrong for the choices they made and it's best to just move on. They've since worked together without further incident.
On a side note, whenever someone gets even the slightest injury working opposite Holly it's built into the 'abuser of young talent' gimmick that's been created for him. My advice to fans is to check the sources of these reports, dig a little deeper and challenge their veracity as opposed to blindly accepting them as fact.