After Bravo Racism Probe, What’s Next for ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’?

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Bravo conducted an internal investigation into formal complaints made about Ramona Singer by fellow cast member Eboni K. Williams and an additional crew member, Variety has confirmed. The complaints accused Singer of making racist comments while filming “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

The first complaint against Singer was lodged in December 2020 by a crew member, and the claim in question was corroborated during the investigation, an insider tells Variety. That investigation was led by WarnerMedia, the parent company of Shed Media, which produces “The Real Housewives of New York City,” with Bravo’s support.

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Season 13 of “RHONY” premiered in May 2021, and aired over the spring and summer. After the initial probe into the crew member’s complaint had concluded, Williams made a separate complaint in summer 2021, based on a completely different comment that Singer allegedly made, which was overheard by another individual on set. Sources say Williams’ claim was looked into by an independent third party, but it was not corroborated. After members of the cast and production were interviewed, Singer was cleared.

TMZ first reported about the investigations into Singer. Bravo, WarnerMedia, Singer and Williams declined to comment for this story.

Just days after the investigation came to light last week in TMZ’s report, Singer continued to court controversy, this time on social media. This week, Singer endorsed a video on Twitter that compared COVID-19 vaccine mandates to living under a Nazi regime.

“So true,” Singer tweeted, in response to a video of anti-vax propagandist Robert F. Kennedy claiming that vaccine mandates are part of a “pharmaceutical-driven, biosecurity agenda” reminiscent of Nazi medical experiments in concentration camps during World War II.

“The Nazis tested vaccines on the gypsies and Jews, and the world was so horrified after the war, we signed the Nuremberg Charter,” Kennedy says in the video. “We all pledged when we do that, we would never again impose unwanted medical interventions on human beings without informed consent, and yet in two years, all of that conviction has sudden disappeared.”

Page Six, the Daily Mail and other gossip outlets wrote about Singer’s tweet, and it garnered a considerable amount of blowback, with many Bravo fans drawing comparisons to a moment from Season 13 of “RHONY” when during a Black Shabbat dinner hosted by Williams, Singer inexplicably said, “How about when I went to college, the Jewish people hated me?”

The Black Shabbat instance was just one clash between Singer and Williams, who was cast in 2020. Williams is the first Black woman to be cast on “RHONY,” which premiered in 2008. At the time of her historic casting, Williams, a journalist, attorney, TV host and author, said she was excited to bring much-needed diversity to the series to more accurately represent New York City, which is “filled with successful and dynamic Black women.”

A cast member of “The Real Housewives of New York City” for all 13 seasons of the show, Singer has always been a divisive figure. On the show, she’s tended to make outrageous remarks for which she later has to apologize — it’s her persona.

But in an ugly political climate, and during a time when Bravo has made real strides in its effort to further diversify its programming, fans are wondering how next season’s casting will shake out. Whereas interpersonal conflict often works in the “Real Housewives” franchise, in the case of Season 13 of “RHONY,” the ratings sank and even die-hard fans were critical of the season.

In mid-September, Bravo announced that, despite attempts to schedule it, there wouldn’t be a reunion for “RHONY,” adding even more chaos to the already fraught and low-rated season. At the time, Bravo released a statement saying that the reunion not happening was “disappointing,” but that the network was “now shifting our focus to next season.”

But the behind-the-scenes drama at “RHONY” may explain why the reunion never took place at the end of the season. The investigation ultimately further delayed the reunion, and the network felt too much time had passed to move forward.

Meanwhile, Singer continues to be in business with “The Real Housewives.” This month, she’ll star in the franchise’s first-ever all-star season, “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip,” which premieres Nov. 18 on the streaming service Peacock.

As for Williams, she did not receive a warm welcome from several longtime cast members of “RHONY.” In an early episode, she was called “angry” by Luann de Lesseps, an incident that cast a pall over the whole season. And Williams and Singer were constantly at odds. In one instance, Williams criticized Singer for not remembering the name of a woman who worked for her, instead referring to her as “the help.” In another scene at Singer’s apartment, Williams tried to find common ground on the issue that Kamala Harris would be the first woman vice president in U.S. history. In response, Singer — a pro-Trump Republican — nearly walked out of her own home because she was so reluctant to argue with Williams on-camera.

In an interview with Variety in August, Williams said she and Singer had had dinner together recently, and both accepted “where the limitations are” in their relationship. Williams said she had reached an “impasse” with Singer on whether they align on “basic principles of shared humanity.” When asked whether she felt she and Singer align on those principles, Williams told Variety, “No! No, no, I don’t.”

Throughout the season, Williams was covered heavily, and negatively, by the tabloids. As the press chatter continuously swirled, questioning the status of the relationship between Williams, Singer and the other “Real Housewives,” taping the show’s reunion episodes was pushed back again and again.

“RHONY” is a cornerstone in the “Real Housewives” universe. Casting for Season 14 is on the horizon, but not quite yet underway, so it remains to be seen whether Singer, Williams or any of the previous season’s cast members will return.

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