After two years of speaking publicly about the alleged racism and discrimination she experienced during her years of filming The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Nene Leakes has officially filed a lawsuit against the production company behind the Bravo franchise, as well as network honcho Andy Cohen. Defendants listed in the lawsuit include NBCUniversal, Bravo, True Entertainment and Truly Original, and executives from those production companies. Leakes flat out says the network enables a toxic work environment fueled with racial biases. "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, per Deadline.
Leakes says she was subjected to enduring racial statements from longtime co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann from the start. Despite complaints to the network, she says she was punished for speaking out. On the flip side, Zolciak-Biermann was rewarded, per Leakes, with a spinoff series that aired over eight seasons on the network. Zolciak Biermann appeared on RHOA from Seasons 1-5, and again in Season 10.
Leakes names several incidents that included Zolciak-Biermann. In 2008 during its first season, Leakes points to one scene that aired on the show. Zolciak-Biermann said in her confessional that she didn't want to attend a group barbecue, adding: "I don't want to sit around with NeNe and eat chicken.'"
In a separate incident in 2012 during its fifth season, Zolciak-Biermann allegedly made "racially offensive and stereotypical" comments about Kandi Burruss' new home. She characterized the neighborhood the estate is in as a "ghetto."
The same year, Zolciak-Biermann allegedly used the N-word to refer to Leakes and other housewives following a dispute. She also implied that Leakes used drugs and called her home a "roach nest" while her eldest daughter filmed a video of water bugs in Leakes' bathroom. The ordeal played out during Season 10.
Leakes alleges she was phased out of the show over her final two seasons. She was not asked to return for Season 13. At the time, she said she could not come to an agreement with the network on the number of episodes she'd appear in. She's since stated that she'd be open to returning, with Cohen declining the offer.