Real Housewives spinoff is being sued over sexual assault allegations: Here are the claims

Real Housewives spinoff is being sued over sexual assault allegations: Here are the claims

Production is accused of enabling the alleged sexual assault through silence and excessive drinking

The fourth season of the Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip is being held indefinitely due to a sexual assault lawsuit from one of its stars, Caroline Manzo, that alleges that Brandy Glanville sexually assaulted her.

The spin-off show sees women from across the Bravo franchise come together for more of their signature antics. These typically include fighting over the best bedroom in the luxury villa and binge drinking. This formula seems to have tipped over into legal trouble for the show as Caroline has alleged she was a victim of sexual assault by one of her cast mates, and the production did nothing about it.

Caroline first mentioned the allegations when she appeared on The Real Housewives of Orange County star Tamra Judge’s podcast with Teddi Mellencamp, Two T’s in a Pod. Caroline, who appeared on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, called the experience of filming the show in Morroco “traumatic” during her April 2023 interview.

Upon hearing this episode, Brandy clapped back, calling Caroline’s claims “a fucking set-up” on X. She, who is known for her stints on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, added that she “was cast on the second season of the show because the producers LOVED what I did on the first season and I was told to bring the party just like before.”

After the original season of the show, Brandy was also hit with allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct. Marco Vega, who was hired by her co-star Dorinda Medley of the Real Housewives of New York fame, alleged that Brandy and the Real Housewives of Atlanta star Phaedra Parks engaged in behaviour that he found to be incredibly inappropriate. He alleged that Phaedra “slapped his butt” while Brandy “ripped his shirt off, exposing his torso” and yelled at him to “take his shirt off” as a way to “earn his money”. This lawsuit was filed in October last year, and its outcome is pending. No comment was provided when approached by PEOPLE magazine by Brandi or Phaedra.

After Caroline’s comments, the production company Shed Media issued a statement emphasising how “extremely important” they find well-being on set, adding that “in this situation, production immediately launched a comprehensive review and is taking appropriate action.”

However, judging by Caroline’s lawsuit, seen by Entertainment Weekly, she appears not to agree the response was good enough. The case, which does not name Brandi as a defendant but merely cited “as an employee of the defendants”, alleges that Brandi “forcibly kissed her”. According to the papers, she also apparently “groped, grabbed and forcibly fondled [her] vagina and breasts.”

Caroline firmly places blame on production, who is accused of  “listening to the interaction on audio” but “never opened the door or took any other action to intervene and stop the sexual assault”.

In Caroline’s version of events, she claims that she exclaimed, “I got abused”, in the immediate aftermath of the alleged assault in earshot of Ultimate Girls Trip production and other members of staff. It also states that she confided in her family and two members of production the following day. Caroline also cited the previous allegations surrounding Brandi in the case, accusing the team of allowing and encouraging her to behave similarly to more people.

“Defendants had overwhelming prior notice of Ms. Glanville’s prior deviant sexual proclivities and sexually harassing conduct. However, despite this knowledge, Defendants wrongfully continued to hire Glanville for their shows. Defendants allowed, condoned and even encouraged Ms. Glanville’s sexually aggressive and offensive conduct on others on the sets,” the case states.

It also accuses production of enabling the Housewives to get far too drunk to loosen their inhibitions and behave this way because it is “good for ratings”. Additionally, drinking alcohol is illegal in Morroco, where they were filming the show.

The lawsuit reads that production “regularly ply the Real Housewives with alcohol, cause them to become severely intoxicated, and then direct, encourage and/or allow them to sexually harass other cast members because that is good for ratings.”

Legal representatives for Caroline dubbed the network as “selfish” and acting recklessly for “ratings and profit” and urged it to be halted.

“We believe this cast is about the network’s selfishly sacrificing the wellbeing of their talent for ratings and profit,” Caroline’s lawyer, Derek Smith, added.“Brandi Glanville stated she was simply doing what the producers told her to do. Reality TV is leading to severe emotional and physical harm of its talent. This must stop.”

According to PEOPLE magazine, both Caroline and Brandy left the show before it concluded shooting. The other cast members, Vicki Gunvalson, Eva Marcille, Phaedra Parks, Camille Meyer, Alex McCord and Gretchen Rossi, were said to be supportive of her decision to depart. Filming is believed to have resumed and then wrapped on Saturday evening.

An anonymous source confirmed Caroline’s claims the attention “was unwanted” to the outlet.

“And Caroline’s distress over the matter did not seem to stop Brandi. Things escalated, and physical boundaries allegedly were crossed that Caroline felt were serious and uncomfortable,” they added.

Peacock added that it launched a review at the time of Caroline’s allegations, and it took them “seriously”, which seemed to explain why Brandi was not included in the US edition of The Traitor’s reunion show.

Brandi’s representatives did not respond to Entertainment Weekly’s request for comment but did provide a statement to Page Six, branding the allegations “absurd”.

“While filming, Brandi followed what the producers asked of her, and there was no sexual assault,” a spokesperson for Brandy told the outlet. “She is innocent of these absurd accusations that have weighed on her mental and physical health for far too long without a word of support from Peacock, Shed or Bravo…This painful storytelling seems endless and needs to stop. She is looking to move on and upward and get her life back.”

Andy Cohen, the executive producer of the Bravo franchise, has hinted that the show will still make it air while at BravoCon in November, a call that Brandi is a fan of.

“Can we PLEASE air this fucking show already,” Brandi posted on X. “It’s so I can be vindicated.”

She added: “It’s been a year now! Please let me live and provide! This is INSANE!”

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Photo credit via Caroline Manzo/Brandi Glanville/Instagram