RHONY Alum Leah McSweeney Sues Andy Cohen & Bravo 


Leah McSweeney sues Andy Cohen and Bravo for allegedly preying on her issue with alcohol while filming RHONY and RHUGT.

On Tuesday, Real Housewives of New York alum Leah McSweeney filed a lawsuit against Andy Cohen, Bravo, and Shed Media, in the Southern District of New York, claiming that they intentionally preyed on her alcohol addiction so they could hit a rating jackpot.

Per the lawsuit, the network and production company were aware of Leah McSweeny‘s addiction to alcohol and her mental health issues when she joined the season 12 cast of RHONY in 2019.

The Married to the Mob designer starred in two seasons of RHONY from 2020 until 2021. She went on to star in one season of Bravo’s Real Housewives spinoff show, Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip.

According to the lawsuit, instead of the network and production helping Leah remain sober, they “not only supplied Ms. McSweeney with unlimited, free-of-charge alcoholic beverages throughout Ms. McSweeney’s employment as a cast member on ‘RHONY’ Season 12 but also encouraged her to consume those alcoholic beverages.”

The suit adds, “This environment caused Ms. McSweeney to relapse into alcohol addiction shortly  after joining RHONY season 12.”

RHONY alum Leah McSweeney plans to sue Bravo
RHONY alum Leah McSweeney plans to sue Bravo

As a result, the 41-year-old “grew mentally and physically ill, which  manifested into extreme depressive symptoms.”

When Leah McSweeney attempted to refrain from drinking while filming, Bravo, Andy Cohen, and production would “put Ms. McSweeney in situations where she felt pressured to relapse into alcohol use disorder.”

She “feared that her sobriety would cause a trickledown effect, where if she continued not to drink… Cohen, [the producers] and the audience would think she was boring [and] Cohen would no longer want her on the show.”

However, when she “refused to relapse into addiction,” producers “attempted to exacerbate Ms. McSweeney’s mental health disabilities in hopes that Ms. McSweeney’s worsened mental health would cause her to display the erratic  behavior they wanted.”

Because of all this, the lawsuit claims that Bravo, Shed Media, and Andy Cohen “discriminated against, tormented,  demoralized, demeaned, harassed and retaliated against Ms. McSweeney because she is a woman with disabilities, such as alcohol use disorder and various mental health disorders, all in the name of selling drama.But being in the business of reality television does not relieve [them] of their obligation to follow employment laws that prohibit the exact type of discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation that Defendants subjected Ms. McSweeney to. Now, Ms. McSweeney  seeks justice.”

Leah McSweeney gets fiery on Bravo's Real Housewives
Leah McSweeney gets fiery on Bravo’s Real Housewives

The RHONY alum opened up on social media about her decision to seek legal action against Bravo and Andy Cohen.

On Instagram, Leah wrote:

This is not a story I ever thought I would be telling; in fact, I was petrified to speak on it and was warned not to. Today my attorneys filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court of The Southern District of New York against my former employers. Your favorite Bravo shows are run by people who create a dangerous work environment, encourage substance abuse to artificially create drama, and cynically prey on the vulnerabilities of their employees. Some of the stories and incidents that are detailed in the lawsuit have been shown in edited form on TV or reported in media, but many have not. And there will be much more that comes out once the people involved are questioned under oath. Today I am taking back my reality.

There’s something wonderful about the concept of Reality TV – that millions of people you’ve never met can laugh with you, cry with you, empathize with you, and root for you.

But the reckless and diabolical way in which the people at the top drool over the mishaps and misfortunes of the women including myself are disturbing. It’s a workplace culture where toxicity, alcoholism and pain are not only expected but encouraged and facilitated.

That is something I most definitely did not sign up for nor would I ever endorse.

There is nothing more important than my sobriety; without it, I risk losing everything. I have been very transparent about my addiction and recovery; however, there are personal things in this lawsuit that I never wanted to disclose for fear of being judged and shamed, but I am at a point now in my life where I feel strong enough to withstand whatever may come my way.

I have love and respect for many of the Bravo talent and getting to know them was a positive experience in all of this. I may be a pariah to them after this, but I do hope my lawsuit helps reality TV to align with its true purpose: to authentically depict the complexities of life while offering genuine support to those who share their stories.

I’ve been trying to address this internally for years now but have been dismissed, stone-walled, and gaslit (but actually) at every turn since. Bravo can try to manipulate my reality and others’ all they want, but the cold hard facts of this case are as real as it gets.

Thank you to my close friends and family and of course @adelmanmatz who have supported me in every difficult but necessary step of this journey. I will see you in court.

It’s unclear when the Real Housewives of New York will return for season 15 or when filming will begin. RHONY Legacy is currently airing on Peacock.

Thoughts on this all? Sound off below!

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