NeNe Leakes has followed through with her claims of racism against the creators of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and has taken things to court.
Per new reports, Leakes, an OG housewife of the Atlanta franchise, is accusing the production companies behind the reality show of fostering a “hostile and racist environment.”
NeNe Leakes Complained Of Racism After 2020 Exit From ‘RHOA’
Leakes was an original housewife who was with the show for the first seven seasons before a short hiatus in 2016. She returned a year later, but her presence was cut short when she shocked fans with news of her exit in September 2020.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for me. It was hard. I’m just so happy that I can say that I was a part of a genre that opened up doors for Black ensemble reality shows. I want to thank everybody that has looked up to me over the years,” said “The New Normal” star.
However, months after saying goodbye, Leakes took to social media to accuse the team of racism, asking her fans to boycott them. As The Blast covered, the New York native, in a Twitter rant, wrote, “Y’all ready to start this boycott yet? What has happened behind the scenes is WRONG! While others were being promoted, BLACK WOMEN who created shows, created genres, built franchises, and built networks were being DEMOTED … TURN OFF YOUR TVS.”
Leakes also asked her fans to boycott Andy Cohen’s famous New Year’s Eve countdown broadcast, saying he doesn’t support black women when they speak up in the workplace.
She opened up about building a case against Bravo with the US Department of Equal Employment Opportunity in California, New York, or Georgia for “unfair treatment.”
Since asking her fans to stay away from the show in December 2020, Leakes hasn’t said much about her allegations of racism until now.
The ‘Glee’ Star Sues ‘RHOA’ Production Companies For Racial Discrimination
According to Page Six, on Wednesday, Leakes filed documents at a federal court in Atlanta suing that the companies behind the show for creating a hostile work environment.
The lawsuit names Bravo, NBC Universal, True Entertainment, Truly Original, and ‘RHOA’ executive producer Cohen as defendants. In the court document, Leakes alleges that she complained about racist remarks from fellow castmate Kim Zolciak-Biermann but instead suffered consequences for speaking up.
She recalled in the lawsuit an incident that happened in the first season when the housewives were planning to attend a barbecue, and Zolciak-Biermann remarked, “I don’t want to sit around with NeNe and eat chicken,” a statement described as “an offensive stereotype about African-Americans.”
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Another allegation was made against Zolciak-Biermann for an occurrence in season five when she called fellow housewife Kandi Burruss‘s new home “ghetto.” Also, in that same season, the “Don’t Be Tardy” star used the N-word to address Leakes during an argument.
Other allegations levied against the ‘RHOA’ team in the court documents state that Zolciak-Biermann’s racially-offensive behavior wasn’t brought to order. Instead, it was rewarded with a spin-off show.
Also, Leakes claimed that her continuous complaints about racism led to her forceful exit from the show in 2020, before the 13th season, with the production companies trying to sideline her from being vocal about the Black Lives Matter Cause, which was gaining momentum at the time.
The suit claimed, “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. Instead, NBC, Bravo, and True forced her out of the ‘house she built,’ denying her a regular role.”
Although Zolciak-Biermann was seemingly responsible for the racial slurs levied at Leakes, she wasn’t named in the lawsuit. Rather, the “I Dream Of Nene: The Wedding” star pointed fingers at the production team for encouraging such behavior.
She wrote in the suit, “NBC, Bravo, and True foster a corporate and workplace culture in which racially-insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated — if not encouraged.”
In a statement, Leakes’ attorney David deRubertis claimed his client was “the target of systemic racism” from the first day of filming. Another of her lawyer named, Joe Habachy, noted that the mother-of-three has endured “an onslaught of overwhelming emotions as a direct result of these unfortunate and avoidable occurrences.”
Kandi Burruss Says There Was No Racism On ‘RHOA’
Despite Leakes’ claims of racial bias on the set of ‘RHOA,’ her fellow black housewife Burruss doesn’t agree. As The Blast covered back in March, Burruss slammed all claims of racism, saying, “Realistically, I don’t agree… Everybody can have their own opinion. I did not agree.”
The “Kandi & the Gang” star explained that Leakes often bragged about being the highest-paid on the show. “You can’t brag about being paid the most out of anybody and then say that they’re not treating you right,” Burruss lamented.
Season 14 of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” will premiere on May 1, and with the rise of Leakes’ lawsuit, it’s unsure how things will play out.