If you’ve been watching Bravo shows like Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules for years, you’ve probably come to terms with the fact that not all the cast members are great people. But usually that’s in the context of the show. It’s entertaining to watch someone be a nightmare on a group trip, but when that same person starts spouting ignorant nonsense on social media, it’s no longer fun.
A lot of Bravolebrities usually keep their views on real world events pretty quiet, but in the last week, pretty much everyone has posted in support of the Justice For George Floyd campaign, at the very least. And while some Bravolebrities have had amazing, inspirational responses to the current situation, some have really f*cked it up. Here are some of the Bravolebrity responses to what’s going on in the world right now, from the uplifting to the problematic.
Porsha Williams is the granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams, and she’s done his legacy proud over the last week. Last week, she peacefully protested in Atlanta with RHOA costar Shamea Morton, and spoke to a local news network about the need for justice. In the powerful clip, Porsha said “I may be well-known, but I am here to be a voice for the voiceless,” and demanded justice for George Floyd and greater change in black communities. Porsha has come a long way since the days when she thought the Underground Railroad was an actual train.
I swear the media is doing THEE MOST race baiting! If it wasn’t for social media, we wouldn’t have seen the peaceful protestors at all! Watch the news and it’s all violence and looting by people who are clearly not a part of the cause! Am I the only one seeing this? Frustrating!
— Monique Samuels (@iammrssamuels) June 1, 2020
Monique has been very active on Twitter over the past week, sharing her own thoughts as well as retweeting a lot of information and insightful commentary. She also brought attention to the elections happening in many states on Tuesday, which is important, because state and local elections have a direct effect on a lot of the issues at hand here.
To put it simply, Kelly Bensimon has been a disaster on social media this week. Multiple times, she’s posted something offensive or inaccurate, gotten called out, deleted the post, made a confusing apology, and then put up another offensive or inaccurate post. We’re all learning, and it’s okay to make honest mistakes, but Kelly’s posts just feel reckless and tone-deaf.
In this tweet from Monday, she shared a photo of peaceful protestors blocking a highway, claiming that it was a scene from the Hamptons in real time. She called for an end to the protests and loitering (lol, she meant looting), ignoring the whole reason why the protests are occurring. On top of that, this isn’t the Hamptons, it’s Connecticut, and the photo was from Sunday, not Monday.
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Despite making some bizarre apologies, Kelly obviously still doesn’t get it. On Thursday morning, she tweeted this graphic attempting to explain white privilege. In the tweet, Kelly called herself a “victim of how white privilege sounds” (not a thing), and also used a Blue Lives Matter hashtag. Kelly says that she’s learning, but any white person who thinks now is the time to call themselves a victim clearly hasn’t learned enough.
— Kelly K. Bensimon (@kellybensimon) June 4, 2020
Kelly also doesn’t seem to understand the reasons Black Lives Matter exists and why it’s problematic to swap out “Black” with other words. Over the weekend, she posted an “All Lives Matter” tweet, which she later deleted. She’s apologized for the “verbiage mix up“, and has used #BlackLivesMatter in many subsequent posts. But then, today, she’s talking about Blue Lives all of a sudden? Yeah, no.
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The Real Housewives of Orange County is one of the more conservative casts on Bravo, so Braunwyn’s recent behavior has been a breath of fresh air compared to that of her costars. Braunwyn has joined peaceful protests multiple days this week, and even brought some of her children to a protest on Wednesday. She isn’t afraid to speak out, and her sign in this photo is really great: “There is a name for white people in OC who protest their ‘right to a haircut’ but stay silent when black lives are murdered: RACIST.” Damn.
Speaking of Braunwyn’s RHOC costars, this has been a trying time to follow Kelly Dodd on Instagram. She’s spent the last few months flying back and forth between New York and California, downplaying the danger of COVID-19, and even calling it “God’s way of thinning the herd.” Unsurprisingly, she’s been similarly problematic over the past week. In one Instagram story (which got deleted), she called protestors “animals” committing “terrorism on our land,” and opined that they don’t have problems like this in England (false, btw). Her words were completely disgusting, and though she’s pivoted to saying Black Lives Matter on social media, it’s hard to believe that’s anything more than a PR move.
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Eva has been one of the most active Housewives on Instagram this week, posting informational videos, voting PSAs, and inspirational messages daily. Her profile has become a valuable platform for updates, including multiple posts bringing awareness to fake protestors breaking windows and looting just to cause chaos. Eva isn’t taking any of this lightly, and her dedication to this cause has really been amazing to see.
More than most in the Bravo community, Katie seems to understand and accept the work that it takes to educate yourself and be a good ally. In addition to posting several times in support of Black Lives Matter, she’s also used her platform to spotlight black-owned businesses, anti-racist literature, and a Google Doc with hundreds of resources dedicated to dismantling systemic racism. Katie showed a hint of this understanding on this season of VPR when she called out the police prank as problematic, and she’s backing that up with action.
What is happening now has nothing to do with the tragic death of George Floyd – criminal looting is stealing – our businesses hurt by COVID don’t deserve this!!! You are blessed to live in the USA. Leave our small businesses alone!
— Taylor Armstrong (@TaylorArmstrong) June 3, 2020
Taylor Armstrong is the kind of person who makes me want to stay off of Twitter right now. While she’s repeatedly condemned the murder of George Floyd, she doesn’t seem to get the larger issue here. She’s tweeted many times about looting and the effect on small businesses, and yesterday she added that the protestors are “blessed to live in the USA.” Really? I’m sure I can think of plenty of people who don’t feel blessed to live in a country that has systematically oppressed them for centuries, and to even suggest that is incredibly tone-deaf.
In another tweet, Taylor suggested that, because she is part Native American, she understands “heritage issues.” I don’t really know what she means by that, but I’m going to stop thinking about it before I get any more angry.
Candiace Dillard Bassett
In a powerful Twitter thread from last week, RHOP’s Candiace Dillard challenged non-Black allies to do better, saying that “the oppressed cannot drive out oppression on our own.” She called out those she works with, saying, “I’m disappointed that amongst my white colleagues, who have no problem using their platforms to promote their businesses, their clothing lines, their restaurants and everything in between, there has been virtual silence.” In the week since Candiace posted this, many more people have shown their support and joined the conversation, but this is an important message to remember even when Black Lives Matter isn’t trending. Being an ally is a 24/7 job, not just when there’s a hashtag to share.
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My kids researched and found this peaceful protest that we attended today. It was organized by teenagers and was 2k-3k strong. My girls made our signs and wanted to be the 1st ones there. You have to talk to your children so that they understand because they too want their voices heard. #blmbethesda #justiceforgeorgefloyd
RHOP’s Gizelle Bryant has been outspoken on social media, and on Tuesday, she posted that she brought her daughters to a protest. She specified that her daughters did the research to find the protest, made their own signs, and wanted to be the first ones there, which makes my heart so warm. The children, they really are the future.
If you’ve watched even one episode of RHONY, you probably know that Ramona Singer is a piece of work, and her behavior this week has been… frustrating. After saying nothing over the weekend, her first comment on the current situation was in the form of an “all lives matter” comment. Oof. She was called out by many, including castmate Leah McSweeney, and deleted the comment. Since then, she’s posted a couple times, and said Black Lives Matter, but she’s been quiet since her Blackout Tuesday post. It seems like Ramona got the message about not saying All Lives Matter, but I’m not convinced she actually cares, or plans to do anything more meaningful. Not necessarily surprising, but it’s too bad.
The majority of the Bravolebrities haven’t been problematic this week, but he’s be honest, our expectations for them are pretty low. It’s good that only a handful have been out here spreading bullsh*t, but the vast majority of them could still do way more. These are just some of the best and worst examples, but if you want a more in-depth list of each Housewife’s posts, writer Tracie Morrissey has meticulously catalogued them in her Instagram Story highlights.
Images: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com; itstanyatime, bravobybetches, braunwynwindhamburke, musickillskate, candeegal09, ramonasinger, evamarcille, gizellebryant / Instagram; kellybensimon, taylorarmstrong, iammrssamuels / Twitter
I have been watching The Real Housewives since 2008, and a common criticism I hear, other than the fact that it’s trash reality television (what can I say, I’m a raccoon because I love garbage), is that for a show that’s supposed to be about housewives, many of the women are not actually married. And I think the show plays a part in that, but maybe not for the reason a lot of people think. Many Housewives have come onto the show with the seemingly “perfect life” and then two seasons in, they’re filing for divorce. As viewers, we have witnessed countless Housewives’ relationships fail, then watched as they begin to date someone new and then get the inevitable wedding special. Remember when Tamra got married to Eddie and there was a bicycle hanging above them? Ah, memories. I’ve noticed a pattern in my decade-plus watching this franchise, one I call the “Lily Pad Effect”. It is when women join the show, and the show serves as a stepping stone (or Lily Pad, if you will) to a better life for the women—which leads to the demise of their marriage.
Statistically the divorce rate in the United States is about 50%, but in The Real Housewives universe it feels like almost every marriage we see crumbles. That’s not actually true—there have been 115 Housewives (only including U.S. franchises). 78 joined the show married and of that 78, 30 of them have gotten divorced on the show or shortly after. That means roughly 38% of the married women who join The Real Housewives get divorced. When considering this percentage, you also have to take into account that two of the cities are still in their infancy (Potomac and Dallas), and Miami and DC are no longer airing.
So what exactly goes wrong in these marriages? Now, I don’t claim to know the inner workings of these relationships; I am strictly going off of what I have seen over a 10-year period. The one commonality is the dynamic in the relationship simply changes. More specifically, it becomes more equal, and that equality brings about the end of the marriage, even if it doesn’t directly cause it. A lot of the divorces follow the same pattern: because of the show, the Housewives are no longer as financially dependent on their husbands, they find confidence by doing something on their own, and they outgrow their relationship. It’s not a coincidence; it’s the Lily Pad Effect.
Tamra Judge from Real Housewives of Orange County joined the show while married to her now ex-husband Simon Barney. She seemed to be walking on eggshells when it came to pleasing him and making sure he was the dominant one in the relationship. Tamra was constantly being told to be more lady-like (whatever the hell that means) or told what she could and could not wear. Simon wanted his wife to be seen and not heard, and let me tell you, that is not Tamra. I think joining the show magnified their problems, and her newfound success gave her more confidence, thus making her more outspoken and him more resentful. The more she pulled away and became stronger, the more he tried to hang on, and at the end of season 5 it all came to a head in the back of limo when Simon told Tamra she isn’t with her kids enough and she screamed “F*CK YOU, I want a divorce”.
Another Housewife who I believe was helped by the show was Taylor Armstrong from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (seasons 1-3). Taylor had one of the darkest storylines we have ever seen. We met Taylor when she was married to Russell Armstrong, who was extremely unlikable from the first episode, and their relationship felt strained. They just didn’t seem to mesh. As the show progressed, we got to see the dark side of Russell: he was extremely controlling and began to isolate her from the group by threatening lawsuits against other cast members, most of whom knew what was going on behind the scenes.
Slowly the truth started to come out, when Taylor confided in a therapist on camera, showing the dark underbelly of their marriage. And when Camille Grammer came out and said on camera that Russell abuses Taylor, it was a shock. I remember watching it, and my heart just sinking for her. As viewers we knew things were going on behind the scenes but to hear it out loud and confront the issue head-on was a lot to process. At the finale she showed up to an event with a heavy side bang covering a black eye, and announced her divorce. Then, before the reunion taped, Taylor’s husband Russell committed suicide. Truly, I think joining RHOBH might have saved her life because it gave her the strength to leave her abusive marriage and held a mirror up to things she possibly wanted to ignore for the sake of their child.
Emily Simpson, a relative newcomer who is on her second season of The Real Housewives of Orange County, is married to Shane (or as Kelly Dodd calls him, “little dork”). She is an accomplished lawyer who passed the California bar on her first try and a notable party planner, all while balancing being a mom to three kids. So that’s why her relationship with Shane is so strange. She is already independent and successful, so I am convinced she joined the show knowing they had huge cracks in their relationship, and that being on camera would only amplify those cracks into craters. She of course defended him her first season, saying “oh you don’t understand him, he’s just sarcastic” or “it’s his sense of humor”…but no one is buying that. He kind of just seems like an asshole. This season, though, we are watching their relationship crumble right before our very eyes, and TBH she seems okay with it.
It’s too soon to know whether their relationship will hold up or end in divorce, but it definitely shows some of the telltale signs. Being around a group of strong-willed women, most of whom have gone through their own divorce journeys, might inspire Emily to take a deeper look at her own relationship. A sarcastic sense of humor is fine, but her husband skipping her birthday because he just doesn’t feel like it? That’s not what a healthy marriage looks like. And honestly, she deserves better. Most of these women do.
A lot of people think that being a Real Housewife is all starting catfights and getting drunk, and while that’s true to a certain extent, it’s also really empowered a lot of its cast members. It’s kind of amazing what these shows can do for some of the women. Being on TV will either make or break your relationship, but sometimes when a relationship breaks, it’s for the better. Maybe the women don’t realize it in the moment, but divorce is the best thing to happen to them. Look at Shannon Beador—she is THRIVING. When she first came on the show, she almost seemed scared of her husband David, who is easily one of the worst Real Househusbands. She made a valiant effort to fix her relationship after he cheated her, but he really didn’t deserve her. Now she’s killing it with her line of frozen meals, she lost a bunch of weight, and she seems the happiest she’s been in six seasons. Basically, the divorce was exactly what she needed.
Also, being surrounded by other strong women really makes some of them see the light when it comes to their sh*tty relationships. All in all, I just love watching the women grow and really come into their own. Most of the women who get remarried while filming are with men who celebrate their independence and have major BDE. We love to see it.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (3)