Andy Cohen is keeping it moving. In a digital cover story for Today, the Bravo figurehead directly addressed Vanity Fair’s Real Housewives story “Inside the Real Housewives Reckoning That’s Rocking Bravo” from reporter Anna Peele. According to Cohen, Bravo has “moved forward” from the incidents the story reported on.
One month after Vanity Fair published Peele’s story, the Bravo patriarch sat down with Today to share his thoughts on the piece, which he continues to call factually inaccurate without explaining which facts he disputes. (Bravo and Today are owned by the same parent company, NBCUniversal). Cohen’s major issue, he says, was a lack of context surrounding certain anecdotes. Cohen had declined to answer questions for the story. Vanity Fair stands by its reporting.
“You can say, ‘Oh, Andy did a poll comparing two Housewives’ bad nose jobs,’ and without any further explanation, that may cause you to raise your eyebrow,” he said. “But the continuation of the sentence would be ‘…after an episode of the Jersey ‘Housewives’ where two women compared what they described as their bad nose job.’ So I just thought that there was a lot of context missing.”
Cohen maintained that Bravo had previously addressed various incidents that bubbled up in the piece, which included allegations of on-set racism, toxic work environments, and criticisms of excessive drinking on the reality series from former Real Housewives of New York City stars Eboni K. Williams, Leah McSweeney, and Bethenny Frankel. “Specifically, it was a rehash of things that have been reported on and — most importantly — addressed by Bravo,” he said. “We’ve addressed each of the things that did happen, and we’ve moved forward.”
Earlier this year, McSweeney filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Bravo after filming Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip, citing an alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaint was dismissed on the grounds McSweeney plans to sue the respondents in court. In August, lawyers Bryan J. Freedman and Mark Geragos, representing former and current cast and crew members on some of NBC’s reality TV shows, issued a legal letter to NBCUniversal alleging that their clients had been “mentally, physically, and financially victimized by NBC and threatened with ruin should they decide to speak out about their mistreatment.” In a statement to Variety, Bravo responded, saying, “Confidentiality clauses are standard practice in reality programming to prevent disclosure of storylines prior to air. They are not intended to prevent disclosure by cast and crew of unlawful acts in the workplace, and they have not been enforced in that manner.” (NBCUniversal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Cohen pointedly did not say Bethenny Frankel’s name during his interview with Today but appeared to reference the former RHONY star. “Look, there’s always one question that you feel like you really want to ask. You might be scared, it might be off limits,” he said to interviewer Evan Ross Katz. “For you, for this interview, it may have been about that former Housewife.”
As for the current state of housewives, Ultimate Girls Trip: RHONY Legacy is still slated to premiere on December 14 on Peacock. The cast includes former RHONY cast members Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Luann de Lesseps, Dorinda Medley, Sonja Morgan, Kristen Taekman, and Ramona Singer, who was recently dropped from BravoCon after reportedly texting a Page Six reporter an abbreviation of a racial slur followed by an ellipses. However, she’s still expected to appear on the program.
Cohen pointed to BravoCon, which took place in Las Vegas in early November shortly after the VF story dropped, as evidence of the franchise’s health. “I think BravoCon was further validation of what is really going on between the reality of our relationship with our talent and the place that these shows hold with our audience,” he said.
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