NeNe Leakes is suing Bravo’s parent-company NBCUniversal, True Entertainment, and Andy Cohen for alleged racism on the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
“NBC, Bravo, and True foster a corporate and workplace culture in which racially-insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated — if not encouraged,” the filing alleges, per the Associated Press.
In the lawsuit, NeNe claims that, during season one of RHOA in 2008, the cast planned a barbeque, and co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann said “words to the effect of: ‘I don’t want to sit around with NeNe and eat chicken.’”
The statement “perpetuated an offensive stereotype about African-Americans,” per the lawsuit.
The lawsuit details another incident involving Kim in 2012, during season 5, when the Don’t Be Tardy star made “racially offensive and stereotypical” comments about Kandi Burruss’s new home. Kim called Kandi’s neighborhood a “ghetto” and perpetuated racial stereotypes about Kandi not needing her swimming pool to be outside due to her skin color.
In addition to that, the lawsuit says Kim used the N-word to refer to NeNe and other cast members. NeNe also claims Kim implied she used drugs and that her home was a “roach nest.”
Despite NeNe’s complaints to executives, they “did not terminate their relationship with Zolciak-Biermann, nor take any other meaningful action to put an end to her racially-offensive behavior.”
Instead, NeNe claims the network rewarded Kim by giving her and her family a spinoff show.
“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,” NeNe’s lawyer David deRubertis said in a statement.
The Bravoleb’s other attorney Joe Habachy said via email that “not a day goes by that NeNe doesn’t wake up with an onslaught of overwhelming emotions as a direct result of these unfortunate and avoidable occurrences.”
The lawsuit also alleges that NeNe’s complaints of racism led to her being forced off the show in 2020.
“As the Black Lives Matter movement swept our nation, Mrs. Leakes — Bravo’s historically most successful Black female talent — should have been embraced by NBC, Bravo, and True,” the suit says. “Instead, NBC, Bravo, and True forced her out of the ‘house she built,’ denying her a regular role.”
Season 14 of The Real Housewives of Atlanta premieres on May 1 at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.