After mounting public pressure and a looming lawsuit from former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel and other reality TV stars, Bravo has released a statement clarifying that its infamous non-disclosure agreements (or NDAs) were only meant to encompass “storylines” and not “unlawful acts.” The statement arrives on the heels of sexual misconduct allegations against Below Deck Sailing Yacht cast member Gary King.
“Confidentiality clauses are standard practice in reality programming to prevent disclosure of storylines prior to air. They are not intended to prevent disclosure by cast and crew of unlawful acts in the workplace, and they have not been enforced in that manner,” a Bravo spokesperson said.
“To be clear: any current or former cast or crew is free to discuss and disclose any allegedly unlawful acts in the workplace, such as harassment or discrimination, or any other conduct they have reason to believe is inappropriate,” the statement continued. “We are also working with our third party production companies to remind all cast and crew that they are encouraged to report any such concerns through the channels made available by the production company so concerns can be promptly addressed.”
Frankel has been pushing for reality TV stars to unionize and worked on a public letter from entertainment lawyers Bryan Freedman and Mark Geragos that alleges Bravo “cast members are fueled with alcohol while being deprived of food and sleep, denied mental health treatment and trapped in their series even under ‘dire circumstances.’” The letter also accuses Bravo of silencing cast members with strict contracts.
Meanwhile, Samantha Suarez, a makeup artist for Below Deck Sailing Yacht, accused cast member Gary King of sexual misconduct, which she feels Bravo attempted to cover-up. Suarez came forward after Bravo aired two episodes of Below Deck: Down Under where two cast members were shown being fired for sexual misconduct.
According to Suarez and others who spoke to Rolling Stone, the type of swift action seen on Down Under has not been the norm, but the network has allegedly kept allegations from going public through its use of NDAs.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)