Defendnts in the lawsuit include NBCUniversal, Bravo, production companies True Entertainment and Truly Original, executives from those companies, and “Housewives” executive producer Andy Cohen. Conspicuously absent is Zolciak-Biermann.
“NBC, Bravo and True foster a corporate and workplace culture in which racially-insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated — if not, encouraged,” the suit claims.
Leakes, real name Linnethia Monique Leakes, spent seven seasons on the show between 2008 and 2020.
Among the suit’s allegations:
*** During the first season in 2008, Zolciak-Biermann said that she didn’t want to attend a group barbecue, alleging words were said to the effect of, “I don’t want to sit around with NeNe and eat chicken.’”
*** In 2012, the fifth season, Zolciak-Biermann allegedly made “racially offensive and stereotypical” comments about the new home of housewife Kandi Burruss She allegedly characterized the neighborhood as a “ghetto.”
*** Also in 2012, Zolciak-Biermann allegedly used the N-word to refer to Leakes and other housewives after a dispute. She also allegedly implied that Leakes used drugs and called her home a “roach nest.”
“From the day the series began filming, NeNe was the target of systemic racism from co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann, which was tolerated by Bravo executive producer Andy Cohen and other executives,” Leakes’ lawyer David deRubertis said in a statement.
The lawsuit alleges that Leakes’ complaints of racism led in part to her being forced off the show in 2020 before its 13th season.