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NeNe Leakes Renews Claims of Unfair Treatment and Racial Bias at Bravo

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Former “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes has once again come forward with allegations of racial bias and unfair treatment during her time with Bravo, reigniting discussions about diversity and inclusion within the reality television industry. While NeNe initially filed a lawsuit against Bravo, Andy Cohen, and NBCUniversal in April 2022, accusing the network of systemic racism and claiming her complaints fell on deaf ears, she later dropped the lawsuit in August. Nevertheless, her recent podcast appearance on “ReWives” with Bethenny Frankel has brought her experiences back into the spotlight.

NeNe Leakes, who played a significant role on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” for multiple seasons, has frequently spoken out about her treatment compared to that of her white counterparts on the show. Her claims highlight ongoing disparities in the treatment of reality TV stars, particularly women of color, and the broader discussions around diversity and representation in the entertainment industry.

In her podcast appearance, Leakes pointed out that white housewives like Lisa Vanderpump and Teresa Giudice could temporarily leave and return to their respective shows without facing the same challenges as she did. This distinction raised questions about whether she, as the only Black original cast member of “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” was being treated differently.

Leakes also discussed her negotiations for her return to the show for season 13. She revealed that she was initially offered only six episodes, a significantly smaller role compared to previous seasons. However, she decided to back out of the deal when Bravo encouraged her to engage in on-air conflicts with fellow housewife Kandi Burruss, which she found uncomfortable, especially during the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Reflecting on her earlier years as a Real Housewife, Leakes recalled how Kim Zolciak-Biermann, the only white cast member at the time, did not participate in cast trips and shoots as frequently as the rest of the cast. This unequal treatment led to discussions among the cast members, highlighting the disparities faced by housewives of color.

In her lawsuit filed last year, Leakes alleged that Bravo, NBCUniversal, and True Entertainment fostered a culture where racially insensitive behavior was tolerated. She claimed to have reported racist remarks made by Zolciak-Biermann to the network but faced professional repercussions, including being phased out of the show in 2020. The lawsuit outlined several instances of racially offensive remarks, including racial slurs and perpetuation of offensive stereotypes.

While she later dropped her lawsuit, it was dismissed “without prejudice,” indicating that Leakes had the option to refile her claims in the future. Her experiences continue to serve as a focal point for discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion within the reality television industry. The broader question of whether reality TV networks need to address issues of racial bias and representation remains a pressing concern in the wake of her allegations.

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Written by
Derek Chan – Editor

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