[Sidebar: I know it’s been a while since I’ve blessed y’all with a written blawg but I had to come out of my hiatus for this exclusive.]
While other outlets are claiming that the star’s racism claims stem from KKKim Zolciak-Biermann… the claims go much deeper and upon inspection of the lawsuit documents, it seems Leakes has been keeping track of a systemically hostile racial environment at Bravo, which was overlooked by NBC executives.
First, I’d like to note that the lawsuit was filed yesterday April 20th in federal court in Atlanta and many outlets are reporting that Nene Leakes is suing Bravo for fostering a hostile work environment. Several online reports mention Kim Zolciak-Biermann as the man offender in Leakes’ suit, however that is not the case.
StraighFromTheA has obtained a copy of the 97 page lawsuit and upon further review, Zolciak-Bierman’s history of racist behavior has been listed along side several other examples of Bravo talent in the section titled “THE HISTORICAL CULTURE OF DISCRIMINATION: NBC, AND ITS BRAVO NETWORK, MAINTAIN A CORPORATE CULTURE THAT IS INSENSITIVE TO BLACK TALENT AND FOSTERS RACIALLY-OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR THAT GOES UNPUNISHED.”
However, it should be noted that Kim is merely used as an example of a Caucasian person in a similar position as Leakes, who is Black, that has been awarded for her privilege.
This may go over some of y’all’s heads… especially if you aren’t a fan of this blawg, however I’ve personally documented several instances where Kim’s behavior displayed blatant racial undertones. In fact, I was even sent a cease & desist for calling it out.
Another incident in Leakes lawsuit stems from Zolciak-Bierman’s reported use the n-word during a cast filming directed towards a mostly Black cast during season 5 (click HERE if you missed that).
At the time of the incident, several of the ladies banded together to complain and the production company and network did nothing. At the time, I did a story about how the remaining housewives refused to work until Kim Zolciak was reprimanded and preferably booted from the show.
It should be noted that instead of disciplinary action for her racist actions, Kim was removed from the cast of RHOA and blessed with her own show ‘Don’t be Tardy’.
Of course that’s just one of many incidents noted on Leakes’ 97 page lawsuit but it definitely supports the realty show vet’s long list of complaints and in my opinion, speaks to the imbalance of power between persons in similar positions.
None of the other cast members could could have ever gotten away with the things Kim did over time.
Another section in Leakes’ lawsuit details other incidents at the network and claims that “NBC’s corporate culture permeates its sister station, Bravo TV, which televises racially segregated workplaces in which racially insensitive and inappropriate conduct is condoned and allowed to fester often creating discriminatory and hostile work environments for diverse talent who are working in their workplaces”.
In that section, there are several other ‘housewives’ franchises mentioned that have faced criticism for racial incidents.
For example, Luanne de Lesseps of The Real Housewives of New York is cited regarding an incident that aired in April 2018, where she “appeared at a Halloween costume party with her skin tone several shades darker than usual and wearing a two-foot-tall wig, claiming to be dressed as Diana Ross”. The lawsuit notes that “de Lesseps denied doing anything wrong and
justified this cultural insensitivity” and that “neither NBC nor Bravo publicly repudiated or disavowed de Lesseps’ racially-insensitive behavior”.
For the record, Leakes complained to executives over the years about several things she felt were inadequate over her years of working on the popular reality show. And according to her claims, in return she received less episodes for speaking out against racism and unfair treatment.
When it became evident that she was being retaliated against by the network, Leakes chose to speak out in hopes that there could be some conversations behind the scenes. Unfortunately, there were others that undermined her efforts and it seems that execs took full advantage of the divide and conquer tactics that have often been used against black people in similar situations.
This rabbit hole goes deep you guys.
So deep in fact, that Leakes, while publicly being paraded by the network as the “face of bravo” and constantly being reported as “the highest paid” was actually being phased out for speaking up.
For the record Nene is not only suing Bravo, NBC, True & Andy Cohen… she’s also listed network executes Shari Levine, Steven Weinstock and Lauren Eskelin.
While it’s clear Nene has always been the fan favorite, fans begin to notice that many seasons she either didn’t start the season because of reported contract negations, missed seasons all together or was shown on fewer episodes than normal. During those times, it was being reported to the public by NBC/Bravo’s PR machines that Leakes was a diva wanting more money, however there are several instances of the former housewife demanding change and fair treatment.
[Sidebar: It’s often been noted by housewives fans that RHOA, once the most popular show on Bravo (and notably the first all black ensemble after Zolciak-Biermann’s n-word promotion) did not receive the same incentives as the all-Caucasian ensembles on other casts. ]
That being said, there was an infamous behind the scenes text discussion with all of the RHOA ladies during the BLM movement where they all wanted to go to the network as a group for requests such as employee health care, breaks, reimbursement of expenses etc but apparently one housewife decided to break code and go at it alone.
Before you start side-eying the situation there other instances noted in the lengthy lawsuit but I’m going to save them for a future blog post.
Trust and believe, I’m going to discuss each and every one of them over time because this is just the beginning.
All of this is close to the chest for me because I’ve been through a similar situation during my days in corporate American and it’s no joke. I personally know how hard it is to slay a dragon… especially as a black woman, when none of your co-workers are willing to back you up.
But as the old saying goes… a real Queen stands alone.
Think about it, it’s been at least 3 years since she worked on Bravo and she hasn’t worked on television since. She’s lost her husband of 25 years after a lengthy battle with cancer and many of her network opportunities have mysteriously disappeared. Can a lawsuit hurt a career that’s already been destroyed through what seems to be retaliatory means?
I’ll be going through more of the 97 page legal document page by page on my YouTube channel LIVE so be sure to subscribe and click the notification bell.