After the death of George Floyd prompted a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement, a sparked shift in societal views on police brutality and racial injustice has taken place across the country and world. As a result, brands and networks are now quickly making changes as a way to exercise compassion and humanity. One such network was Bravo, which recently announced Vanderpump Rules stars, Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, and several others would be fired from the network over their racist behavior.
With the NBCUniversal Television network now facing mounting criticism for its choice of hires and the stars now ostracized from Bravo and a vibrant fan base, the scandal has celebrity brand expert, Eric Schiffer weighing in. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, Schiffer explains that while the network has faced a "devastating body blow," there is room for recovery.
"Bravo faces a devastating body blow when they have a scandal of the type that has existed from Vanderpump Rules because it haunts them with advertisers and it also creates a dangerous concern with aspects of their audience," Schiffer detailed. "They're forced to make lethal moves in order to save their brand and stop the revenue bleed out potential if they were to keep them on."
Schiffer is referring to the cast members who were fired from the reality series, including show originals, Schroeder — who recently announced her pregnancy — and Doute, along with VR newbies, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni. All four were fired from the show after co-star Faith Stowers revealed Shroeder and Doute reported Stowers to the police for a crime she had no involvement in. Boyens and Caprioni were let go due to resurfaced racist tweets.
Now, there is push by the public to fire fellow co-stars Jax Taylor and Brittany Cartwright. Since Schroeder is arguably one of the most famous faces from the show, due to her brand-building outside of the network, Schiffer says, like Bravo, there is time to recover for her too — assuming she takes the necessary steps.
"Stassi has built modern-day super stardom arising from the show and she won't end up being burnt to ashes," he said. "I think she'll pivot into some other vehicle and another network once, I think, time passes and she's able to make some amends on behalf of her brand. But it was a strike at the jugular to what she's built and will take some time to both heal from the revelations, but also from the fact that she's lost this platform that made her into an incredible reality star."
Schiffer noted that while he feels Lisa Vanderpump will not be "buried alive," he does have a few suggestions that both the show, its current and former cast members could do to help create a positive change: "A lot of listening, showing that you got the message. Remorse. A heartfelt apology, and getting out and doing work without the cameras on you to demonstrate that you are going to do something about it versus talk — because celebrity talk is worthless today."
He continued: "If you're a celebrity that has this in your past, you're toast. But not dead if you decide to do something about it outside of the cameras [...] to send a message that you want to change the current injustice of the system without looking for attention." Schiffer concludes that while "time is a healer," it still requires effort behind-the-scenes.