In the latest episode of her Just B podcast, Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel, who’s launched a push in recent weeks for reality stars to unionize, accused RHONY network Bravo of being complicit in the abuse and exploitation of reality show cast members. Frankel also alleges that “a big cover-up” by Bravo took place surrounding a RHONY incident that put Frankel and her Real Housewives co-stars in danger.
In an infamous Season 10 episode of RHONY that aired in 2018, Frankel and fellow Housewives Sonja Morgan, Carole Radziwill, Luann de Lesseps, Ramona Singer, Dorinda Medley, and Tinsley Mortimer endured a traumatic high-speed boat ride in Portugal. The incident prompted screaming, urinating, vomiting, and the women being tossed around on the deck by choppy waves, all of which was captured on camera.
The episode even included a disclaimer that “due to rough waters, all production crew had to stop filming for the safety of everyone on board.”
The incident is edited to play for laughs, but the cast said in talking head interviews that it could have easily turned deadly; the anchor of the boat had deployed while it was in motion, they said, putting the vessel at risk of capsizing.
“We would have all been killed,” had the captain not severed the boat’s anchor line, de Lesseps said in the episode.
On Tuesday, Frankel claimed on Just B that “there was a big cover-up by [Bravo] on this boat incident that we were on where it was very dangerous and there were only two life vests, and it was definitely a liability.”
“The production company and the network had meetings and investigations trying to cover their own ass,” Frankel said. “OK, no one died. Like, that was fine. We didn’t press charges and nobody would press charges because they all were still part of the machine, still working as part of the machine.”
But now, Frankel went on, “the Bravo PR machine is on full tilt now because there’s a massive, massive literary piece coming out in a credible publication in a few months. This is a credible publication and there are major, major pieces coming out.”
The RHONY alum also explained on the podcast how her recent “off-the-cuff” comment that reality stars should be part of a union evolved into a SAG-AFTRA backed legal battle.
“I made a comment about the fact that reality stars should be part of a union because of exploitation without compensation, [which] evolved into terms that I thought would be fair, which evolved into a big Hollywood bigwig giving me the name of a lawyer to try to get a response on those terms, which evolved into probably over a hundred reality stars reaching out to me about them being violated, abused and exploited,” Frankel said. “It evolved into a lawsuit from many of the Bravo talent exposing practices that I did not realize Bravo was complicit in.”
Bethenny Frankel Accuses Bravo of a ‘Big Cover-Up’ Over ‘RHONY’ Boating Incident. Bethenny Frankel Accuses Bravo of a ‘Big Cover-Up’ Over ‘RHONY’ Boating Incident