NeNe Leakes, the former star of The Real Housewives of Atlanta has filed a lawsuit against Andy Cohen, Bravo, and the production companies behind the hit reality show for allegedly allowing a racist work environment on set, E! News reports
The lawsuit also names NBCUniversal, True Entertainment, and Truly Original as defendants which was filed in Atlanta federal court
"For years, NBC, Bravo, and True have fostered a corporate and workplace culture that has permitted and tolerated—if not encouraged—racially offensive and insensitive conduct, statements, and actions by their employees,” the suit claims.
The legal documents also cite alleged examples of "racially-insensitive" behavior by former RHOA co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann, although she is not listed as a defendant.
"From the outset, Zolciak-Biermann was allowed and permitted to engage in racially-offensive conduct and/or make racially-offensive statements without any meaningful consequence or remedial action from NBC, Bravo, or True,” the documents read.
"Upon information and belief, instead of taking appropriate remedial action, NBC, Bravo, and True granted Zolciak-Biermann preferential treatment and special privileges and perks that were not afforded to her Black counterparts,” the documents continued. “This created a two-class system."
During the same year, Zolciak-Biermann allegedly used the N-word in reference to Leakes and some of the other housewives following a dispute with them, the suit alleges. Also, Zolciak-Biermann reportedly said that Leakes was a drug addict and called her home a “roach nest.”
After Leakes complained to the executives of the show, they “did not terminate their relationship with Zolciak-Biermann, nor take any other meaningful action to put an end to her racially-offensive behavior.”
Eventually, Zolciak-Biermann received her own spinoff show.
Because of Leakes’ constant complaints of racism, she claimed she was forced off the show before the 13th season in 2020, according to the suit.
The suit also says Leakes’ negotiations for the season came during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, which she wholeheartedly supported. Executives attempted to “sideline Leakes from talking about the cause, keeping her off early episodes in which the housewives would address BLM,” the suit claims.
“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.”
The suit alleges that the defendants’ actions “violate federal employment and anti-discrimination law, and it seeks monetary damages to be determined at trial.”