Stassi Schroeder is not having a good week, despite the imminent return of Vanderpump Rules on December 6th. Due to her comments in a recent episode entitled “Are we on a male witch hunt?” on her podcast Straight Up With Stassi, the reality star has been facing widespread backlash.
In the episode (which has since been deleted), Stassi and her friend, Jennifer Hoffner, discuss the relative “merit” of sexual assault victims who are speaking out in Hollywood. In response to their controversial comments, some listeners expressed outrage that women would question other women – or any victims of sexual assault – at all.
Stassi initially defended her comments in a tweet, “Hold up. There is ZERO bashing & I repeat myself 3726 times how I feel the whole media frenzy has taken away from the victims who were truly assaulted. You may be misinterpreting my point, because we had the best intentions w/ this episode.”
She followed it up later with the justification that “about 5 people heard this podcast” and everyone else had taken her quote(s) out of context.
When advertisers, including Rent The Runway, began pulling out of Stassi’s podcast, the Vanderpump Rules star suddenly became more contrite. People Magazine reports that Rent The Runway stated, “We’re shocked by @stassi’s comments re the #metoo campaign. It goes against everything RTR stands for as a company and has publicly advocated.” The company pulled out of their advertising contract, effective immediately, and was soon followed by other sponsors.
Cast members of Vanderpump Rules have spoken out both for and against Stassi’s podcast controversy. Kristen Doute defended her on twitter, “I actually listened to
@stassi podcast and can’t wait for her new one. Way disappointed in the sponsors that went public without knowing her true POV.”
Since initially defending her comments, Stassi has since reconsidered
her paycheck. In a public apology issued today on juststassi.com, she writes at length about how this ordeal has affected her. Stassi begins by defending her position on women’s rights. She claims, “I am someone who has always been pro-women. My whole podcast was built around this notion, a notion revolving around women supporting women and having a safe space to discuss whatever we wanted in the most uncensored way possible.”
“The idea of anyone being sexually assaulted horrifies me. The fact that I’ve upset women who have been sexually assaulted horrifies me. And for that I am truly, truly sorry,” continues Stassi, who goes on to explain how her original comments got distorted, but were admittedly out of line.
Stassi reflects, “My intentions with this latest episode got lost with some of the comments I made that were insensitive and thoughtless. Before I explain my intent, I want to WHOLLY apologize for the flippant remarks where I said that no one could make me go down on someone, where I said it is easy to say no, and where I said it’s easy to not go to someone’s hotel room alone. I don’t know what each individual woman was being put through in each instance. That was inexcusable and reckless of me.”
Stassi goes on to reiterate that she did not intend to “blame the victim” and that “the comments I’ve apologized for were 40 seconds of a two-hour long episode, that very few people have heard. What is really unfortunate is that this backlash has made me the story, when the whole purpose of the episode was to bring attention to real victims of sexual assault.”
However, Stassi still doesn’t think she deserves the level of criticism she’s facing. She defends, “The reaction to my podcast has really shaken me. I should be able to express what I think and feel. Should I not? I made mistakes with some inappropriate comments, but does that discredit everything else I stand for?”
In what seems like a last ditch effort to win back the favor of listeners and sponsors, Stassi admits, “I’ve now realized just how big this issue is and it’s something I can’t even begin to tackle. When the dialogue becomes acceptable, I hope to be a part of it. It’s about the victims. And it’s about justice in the right way. I only care about what is just and right. If people misconstrue my message because of some ignorant comments, I cannot control that. But I can control the consistency of my message, and I have always been that way with my podcast.”
Updated to Add: Here is a link to a saved copy of the podcast that was floating around if you want to listen to the original.
TELL US: DO YOU THINK STASSI DESERVES THE CRITICISM? IS HER PODCAST CAREER OVER?
Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo and Twitter