NeNe Leakes
Source: Getty Images

NeNe Leakes's New Lawsuit Alleges "Racially Insensitive and Inappropriate Behavior" on the 'RHOA' Set

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Apr. 21 2022, Published 3:52 p.m. ET

It seems as though things are far from ideal in the world of The Real Housewives of Atlanta right now. One of the show's biggest former stars, NeNe Leakes, is suing the companies behind the program, and the accusations she has leveraged against them are pretty damning.

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Why is NeNe pursuing a lawsuit against pretty much everyone who was affiliated with The Real Housewives of Atlanta? Let's unpack everything we know.

NeNe Leakes
Source: Getty Images
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Why did NeNe Leakes file a lawsuit against 'RHOA'?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, NeNe filed a lawsuit in Atlanta against NBCUniversal, Bravo, True Entertainment, Truly Original, and various show executives, including Andy Cohen. In the suit, NeNe alleges that The Real Housewives of Atlanta fostered a hostile and racist work environment.

NeNe, who is Black, noted that she endured years of racist remarks from fellow housewife Kim Zolciak-Biermann, who is white.

According to the suit, "NBC, Bravo, and True foster a corporate and workplace culture in which racially insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated — if not, encouraged."

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NeNe, whose real name is Linnethia Monique Leakes, starred on The Real Housewives of Atlanta for seven seasons between 2008 and 2020. In her lawsuit, NeNe provides several specific examples of racist behavior that she was subjected to while filming the show.

NeNe Leakes
Source: Getty Images
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NeNe's lawsuit provides examples of Kim's racist behavior on the 'RHOA' set.

The first instance of Kim's alleged racist behavior came all the way back in 2008, when the cast was set to attend a barbecue together. According to court documents, Kim was displeased with the idea, saying "words to the effect of: 'I don’t want to sit around with NeNe and eat chicken.'" According to prosecutors, this "perpetuated an offensive stereotype about African-Americans."

Another alleged instance of Kim's targeted behavior came in 2012, during the show's fifth season. When Housewife Kandi Burruss joined the cast, Kim made a "racially offensive and stereotypical" comment, according to the suit, calling Kandi's neighborhood "ghetto" and questioning if she needed a swimming pool, echoing an age-old racist trope.

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The lawsuit also states that in the same year, Kim used the N-word when discussing NeNe and some of the other stars of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. It alleges that Kim doubled down by claiming that NeNe's house was a "roach nest" and falsely implied that she was a drug user.

NeNe's lawyer, David deRubertis, says that even after all of those instances, Bravo "did not terminate their relationship with Zolciak-Biermann, nor take any other meaningful action to put an end to her racially-offensive behavior."

NeNe Leakes
Source: Getty Images
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"From the day the series began filming, NeNe was the target of systemic racism from co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann," her lawyer added, "which was tolerated by Bravo executive producer Andy Cohen and other executives."

The lawsuit further claims that NeNe was forced off the show in 2020 after she began speaking out against racism at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"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 reads. "Instead, NBC, Bravo, and True forced her out of the ‘house she built,’ denying her a regular role."

NeNe is seeking monetary damages over claims that the companies' actions violated federal employment and anti-discrimination laws. This story is still developing.

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