Former Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes is suing the production companies and executives behind the Bravo staple, claiming they fostered a hostile, racist work environment during her time on the show.
Leakes’ lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, April 20 in a federal court in Atlanta, Associated Press reports. And it claims Leakes frequently spoke with show executives about racist remarks made by fellow housewife Kim Zolciak-Biermann. However, Zolciak-Biermann is not listed as a defendant in the suit.
The defendants include Real Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen, NBCUniversal, Bravo, production companies True Entertainment and Truly Original, and executives from those companies.
“NBC, Bravo, and True foster a corporate and workplace culture in which racially-insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated – if not, encouraged,” the suit reads.
Leakes starred in seven seasons of The Real Housewives of Atlanta from 2008 to 2020. The lawsuit claims she was forced off of the show in 2020 before Season 13 production began because of her complaints against the mistreatment from Zolciak-Biermann.
“From the day the series began filming, NeNe was the target of systemic racism from co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann,” Leakes’ lawyer, David deRubertis, said in a statement, per Deadline, “which was tolerated by Bravo executive producer Andy Cohen and other executives.”
The suit also lists some of the alleged harmful comments from Zolciak-Biermann over the years, such as “‘I don’t want to sit around with NeNe and eat chicken.'” The filing also alleges that the housewife’s comments included “racially offensive and stereotypical” ones about cast member Kandi Burruss during Season 5 production in 2012, reportedly calling Burruss’s neighborhood “ghetto.”
Also in 2012, Leakes claims Zolciak-Biermann used the N-word when speaking about her and other Black women on the show, in addition to describing her home as a “roach nest” and suggesting Leakes used drugs.
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