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The shocking lawsuit against Bravo host Andy Cohen explained

The shocking lawsuit against Bravo host Andy Cohen explained

Bravo host Andy Cohen is being sued by former Real Housewives star Leah McSweeney
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Former Real Housewives of New York star is claiming that Cohen plied her with alcohol and did drugs with cast members.

Andy Cohen, host and executive producer of the Real Housewives franchise, has come under fire recently for allegedly poor treatment of cast members. Now, former Real Housewives of New York star Leah McSweeney has filed a lawsuit alleging that Cohen "engages in cocaine use with Housewives and other Bravolebrities that he employs."

The suit, which McSweeney filed on Tuesday, claims that Cohen and other Bravo producers coerced her into drinking while on RHONY and the spinoff Ultimate Girls Trip, despite knowing about her struggles with alcohol abuse and mental health issues.

The 41-year-old former Bravo star joined the RHONY cast in 2019 and was on the show for two seasons, followed by a starring role in the third season of Real Housewives: Ultimate Girl Trip, which aired toward the end of 2023. She was in talks with Bravo about returning to RHONY: Legacy but was ultimately not given a contract because the producers didn't think joining the show in its 12th season qualified her as a "legacy" cast member.

"If she was cast in Legacy like she wanted, this wouldn't be happening," an unnamed production source said, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

After news of the scandalous lawsuit broke, a representative for Cohen told Deadline that "the claims against Andy are completely false!"

What is the lawsuit alleging Cohen did?

Leah McSweeney and Candiace Dillard Bassett on Ultimate Girls Trip

Courtesy of Peacock

In her lawsuit, McSweeney claims that Cohen — who is referred to as the "Real Housewives omnificent ringleader" in the filing — played favorites with cast members he did drugs with and pushed alcohol to keep the drama going on the shows. "Defendant Cohen's proclivity for cocaine usage with his employees is well-known throughout the Real Housewives franchise," the complaint alleges, according to Deadline. "Defendant Cohen intentionally uses cocaine with his employees to further promote a workplace culture that thrives off drug and alcohol abuse, which leads to a failure to accommodate employees who are disabled and attempting to remain substance free."

In her suit — which she filed against Bravo, NBC/Universal, production house Shed Media US, and producers John Paparazzo, Lisa Shannon and Darren Ward – McSweeney claims that while working for Bravo she experienced a "rotted workplace culture that uniquely depended on pressuring its employees to consume alcohol," and that producers "colluded with her colleagues to pressure Ms. McSweeney to drink, retaliated against her when she wanted to stay sober, and intentionally failed to provide reasonable accommodations that would aid her efforts to stay sober and able to perform."

McSweeney also alleges that the Watch What Happens Live host gives "Housewives with whom he uses cocaine with more favorable treatment and edits."

She took to Instagram a few after the lawsuit was filed, writing, “Your favorite Bravo shows are run by people who create a dangerous work environment, encourage substance abuse to artificially create drama and cynically prey on the vulnerabilities of their employees.”

What are the other Housewives saying?

Andy Cohen, Luann De Lesseps and Dorinda Medley on WWHL

Charles Sykes/Bravo

According to TMZ, former RHONY stars Luann De Lesseps and Dorinda Medley have come forward to defend Cohen. De Lesseps — who has had very public struggles with alcohol — told the outlet that alcohol and partying may be part of the show, but no one ever forced her to take a drink. The reality TV star and cabaret singer added that she doesn't think anyone can make another person drink.

She also said that she never witnessed or heard about Cohen doing cocaine with other cast members.

Medley, who was on the show from 2015 to 2020, said that she would jump at the chance to rejoin the show because she had such positive experiences of being on RHONY and added that she believes adults are responsible for their own actions.

Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey also told TMZ that she was never forced to drink while on the show and didn't believe Cohen ever used cocaine with a cast member.

​Who else is suing Cohen and Bravo?

Brandi Glanville

Shutterstock

Former Real Housewives of Beverley Hills star Brandy Glanville's lawyer sent a letter to NBC, Shed Media, and Warner Bros. accusing Cohen of sexual harassment, stating that he sent her a video back in 2022, where he appeared “obviously inebriated" and “boasted” that he wanted to “sleep with another Bravo star.”

Late last year, both former Real Housewives of New Jersey star Caroline Manzo and Marco Vega, the butler on season 2 of Ultimate Girls Trip, filed lawsuits against Bravo, Forest Productions, Warner Bros., NBCU, Shed Media, and Peacock. Vega filed a lawsuit last October alleging he was sexually assaulted by cast members Glanville and Phaedra Parks. Then, in December, Manzo claimed Glanville sexually assaulted her while they were both filming in Morocco for UGT season 2.

Though New York Housewife Bethenny Frankel released a statement last year calling for a "reality reckoning" and the need for "systemic change" at Bravo, she said she won't be filing a lawsuit.

In 2022, OG Atlanta Housewife Nene Leakes named Cohen in a lawsuit alleging a hostile and racist work environment but subsequently dropped the case.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.