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Real Housewife, Leah McSweeney, Files Lawsuit Against Andy Cohen and Bravo



Ms. McSweeney said on the video call that she had decided to participate in “Housewives of New York City” because she thought it would be a great opportunity. But once she joined the cast, she said, echoing her complaint, “Every single thing that was said to me was coded language for, ‘You better drink.’”

“I knew that there was going to be drama and fighting, of course,” she said. “You know people are going to love you sometimes, they’re going to hate you sometimes — you know you’re going to be somewhat objectified and you’re there to entertain, et cetera. I just didn’t know that the corporate and the producers and the network also kind of looked at the women in the same way as the audience does. I thought we would be a little bit more humanized by them.”

Ms. McSweeney, after appearing in the 12th and 13th seasons of “Housewives of New York City,” did not return for the show’s 14th season. But after filming “Housewives,” she joined the cast of a spinoff, “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip,” for its third season, which aired last year. She was sober while filming the show, episodes of which showed cast members encouraging her to drink.

“I was really hoping for the best,” she said of her decision to join the “Ultimate Girls Trip” cast. “I had had multiple discussions with multiple network executives who knew how I felt, and they said that this was going to be fun.”

Ms. McSweeney’s lawsuit came weeks after Caroline Manzo, a former star of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” filed a suit against Bravo and other parties in January alleging that she had been sexually harassed and assaulted by a fellow cast member while filming an installment of “Ultimate Girls Trip.” Bravo has not commented on that lawsuit.

Last summer, Bethenny Frankel, another former “Housewives of New York” cast member, called for reality stars to unionize in order to improve their working conditions. In August, two entertainment lawyers, Bryan Freeman and Mark Geragos, wrote a legal letter addressed to Kimberley Harris, the general counsel at NBCUniversal, accusing Bravo of “grotesque and depraved mistreatment” on behalf of “several current and former cast members and crew members on some of NBC’s most lucrative reality shows.”

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