×
Back to IndieWire

‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ Alum NeNe Leakes Sues Bravo for Allegedly ‘Encouraging’ Racism

Leakes also named Andy Cohen in her lawsuit accusing NBCUniversal of encouraging a "racially insensitive and inappropriate" workplace.

NeNe Leakes

NeNe Leakes

AP

Former “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes has officially filed a lawsuit against Bravo and NBCUniversal alleging a racist work environment.

Leakes also named production companies True Entertainment and Truly Original among the defendants, as well as executives from the companies and “Real Housewives” mega-producer Andy Cohen.

“NBC, Bravo and True foster a corporate and workplace culture in which racially-insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated — if not, encouraged,” the lawsuit states, as reported by the Associated Press via NBC News.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Atlanta and claims that Leakes complained to executives about years of racist remarks from past co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann. Original cast member Leakes was part of “RHOA” for seven seasons between 2008 and 2020.

She alleged Zolciak-Biermann perpetuated Black stereotypes by saying she didn’t want to “eat chicken” at a barbeque with Leakes; allegations also note that Zolciak-Biermann used the N-word during production and made jabs about whether her Black co-stars would need swimming pools while living in the “ghetto,” which Leakes’ lawsuit wrote continued a “racially offensive” narrative.

“From the day the series began filming, NeNe was the target of systemic racism from co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann, which was tolerated by Bravo executive producer Andy Cohen and other executives,” Leakes’ lawyer David deRubertis said in a statement.

Instead of terminating Zolciak-Biermann’s contract after Leakes filed complaints with Bravo executives, her lawsuit claims Zolciak-Biermann was rewarded by landing her own spinoff series, “Don’t Be Tardy,” after claiming an infamous comment about Leakes’ home being a “roach nest” was “edited out of context.” The series was canceled in 2021 after five seasons.

The lawsuit is not the first time Leakes has spoken out about her time on “RHOA.” Leakes penned a series of tweets claiming NBCUniversal was “manipulating Black women” for reality TV purposes.

“They ALWAYS manipulating black women to say negative things about each other while they sit and enjoy us tearing each other down! Remember #BLM Remember #breonnataylor REMEMBER the most racist networks,” Leakes wrote. “My white counter parts were elevated and given full season episodes EVERY season. Each season I was given less & less. Don’t ask me, @ Andy and @ Bravo and ask them why….The systemic racism is greater than you will ever know.”

Leakes later threatened legal action, adding, “Send me your best discrimination attorneys info to booknene@gmail.com ITS WAR.”

The “Real Housewives” franchise has been marred by allegations of racial insensitivities, with current “Real Housewives of New York City” stars and former “Real Housewives of Orange County” cast members accused of toxic workplace behavior.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Television and tagged , , , ,


Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox