Bethenny Frankel, Leah McSweeney React to Bombshell Bravo Exposé

Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty
Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty

The chips are still falling after Vanity Fair’s recent feature about the “reality reckoning” that’s come for Bravo and its Real Housewives franchise.

The exposé, which was published on Monday, documented allegations of racism against Ramona Singer, which she denied, as well as claims from fashion designer and former Real Housewives of New York City star Leah McSweeney that producers had been insensitive toward her struggles with mental health and alcohol addiction. Now, McSweeney tells Page Six that “Andy Cohen, Bravo, and [production company] Shed all need to give their PR teams a bonus” because they “worked in overdrive to try to hide the truth.” Meanwhile, “insiders” told the tabloid that although several stars spoke on the record about their allegations, the rebuttals they received remained anonymous.

A representative for Bravo told Page Six, “[Bravo’s] PR team only aimed to resolve any inaccuracies that [Vanity Fair] was given.” A representative for NBCUniversal did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on the report.

‘Real Housewives’ Star Ramona Singer Allegedly Said Black People Would ‘Ruin Our Show’

While McSweeney and Bravo duke it out with public statements, RHONY alum Bethenny Frankel—who has called for a “reality reckoning” on social media—appears to have gotten caught up in a more personal battle following Vanity Fair’s piece.

Speaking with VF, Eboni K. Williams—the first Black Housewife to be featured on RHONY—bluntly shirked the idea of joining Frankel’s “reckoning” by saying, “Fuck Bethenny Frankel. You think I’m going to let some white girl speak for me with my experience with a multibillion-dollar corporation?”

Evidently, this did not sit well with Frankel, who chose to respond by sharing an old text interaction with Williams. On her Instagram Story on Tuesday night, Frankel wrote, “In response to @ebonikwilliams telling me to F**K off...” alongside a screenshot of the exchange. In a message dated June 3, 2020, Williams writes, “We met on a private flight from palm beach to nyc a couple of years ago. Just thanking you for consistently using your platform for tangible change.”

Frankel’s reply is dated more than two years later, Aug. 18, 2022: “Wow,” she writes, “I never saw this. Thanks and I’m sorry so late.”

A representative for Williams did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

‘Not What I Signed Up For’: The Reality TV Reckoning Is Here

Back in August, attorneys Mark Geragos and Bryan Freedman—who are working with Frankel—sent Bravo owner NBCUniversal a litigation hold letter that alleged the company had engaged in “grotesque and depraved mistreatment” of its on-air talent and covered up “acts of sexual violence.” Speaking with The Daily Beast in September, Geragos said the team was eyeing a “three-pronged war” that included the litigation hold letter, partnering with the actors guild SAG-AFTRA, and, potentially, legislation. (A representative for NBCUniversal did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment at the time.)

Geragos also told The Daily Beast that after sending the litigation hold, he and Freedman heard from hundreds or maybe even “close to 1,000” reality stars interested in joining their cause.

In that same report, international feminist attorney Ann Olivarius told The Daily Beast that the boundary pushing that reality stars sometimes face is similar to how the porn industry can manipulate young women hoping to make a name for themselves in that space.

“I think we’ll see a lot of lawsuits coming out of these players,” Olivarius said of reality stars. “We’ve actually been approached by a number of these women who have said, ‘No, what happened to me there was not the deal. It was not what I signed up for. I wasn’t told about this.’”

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