Oh. Dear. Jenni Pulos hasn’t just left the Jeff Lewis empire, she potentially annihilated it! Pretty good last laugh for the woman who is essentially responsible for pitching the show that lead to Jeff becoming household name. The fighting between Jeff and Jenni has definitely gotten nasty in the past, but never bad enough to involve the authorities!
First of all, Jeff says Bravo has cleared him of “all abuse charges,” but as a result of Jenni’s allegations, he’s still concerned about the future of Jeff Lewis Design and Flipping Out. Jeff confirms Jenni will no longer be returning to the show after this season, and worries that he may be facing the same fate. “Her making this claim, it put my entire career in jeopardy,” says Jeff. “My family, my livelihood, everything!”
Earlier this year Jeff and Jenni had a huge fight, which signaled the end of the Flipping Out stars’ friendship. Jeff confirms this, “So Jenni and I did have a fight, which then resulted in a rift.” According to him things “started escalating” when he offered Jenni “unsolicited career advice.”
Still, Jeff didn’t believe this was the end of their friendship. “This fight, I never thought in a million years that would ever break us up. Now we’ve been very good friends and pretty much brother and sister, I would say, for like 15-16 years. So look, we’ve been through a lot together, and we’ve had fights before, and you know, this fight was very much like, you know, it maybe [got] a little more heated, but it was like the other fights. And it was really kind of silly…. ”
The realization that this wasn’t just a silly fight happened when Jeff learned Jenni no longer wanted to work at Jeff Lewis Design and “she said that she had given up her acting career to work for me, and that really hurt my feelings, because I felt like I have done nothing but accommodate her for her auditions and meetings and all of that.”
Jeff was even more surprised by Jenni’s attitude given that, according to him, she hasn’t actually worked for him for several years! “She’s employed by Bravo,” Jeff revealed on his radio show Jeff Lewis Live, adding, “it is the one thing that is not authentic about this show.”
“She shows up the day of filming, she leaves the day we are done filming,” Jeff continued. “She doesn’t work for me seven months out of the year. She’s not employed by me. I don’t pay her. She’s not on my payroll.”
Jeff was worried that if Jenni left viewers would go with her, so he offered her a role as his ‘friend,’ instead of continuing to pretend she was employed by him. “I did it because I thought it really was the best for both of us. All of this was very civil, I thought.”
Instead of Jenni discussing what she wanted to do Jeff claims that soon after he received a phone call from their producers, Authentic Entertainment, because Jenni allegedly reported him and the production company for “abuse and victimization.”
Bravo showrunners “had to go frame by frame to confirm that there was no abuse. I have been cleared of all abuse, victimization charges.” But then Jenni “doubled down” by filing a claim against Jeff for “wrongfully terminating her off her own show.”
“And there were also allegations of a hostile work environment, so somebody’s talking to an attorney,” adds Jeff, “which scares me.” Why — if he did nothing wrong?
In typical Jeff fashion he’s adamant that Bravo will fire him over Jenni’s claims. “I just lost my job. I’m pretty sure of that.” He blames Bravo for ‘losing control’ of Jenni and questions whether the show will be picked up for subsequent seasons without her involvement. “I’m pretty sure they’re not going to keep picking up Flipping Out if she’s not on the show. And she’s not on the show.”
Why would Jenni have control over the fate of Flipping Out? It was her pitching a show called “The Wannabes,’ way back in 2009, that initially led to Jeff being discovered by Bravo.
In 2014 Jenni’s memoir, Grin and Bear It: How to Be Happy No Matter What Reality Throws Your Way (which Jeff filed a lawsuit seeking an induction to prevent Jenni from revealing certain things about him and his business), she shares that she and her ex-husband were the original brainchildren behind Flipping Out. So in a sense it is Jenni’s show, even though Jeff is the central figure-head.
Reality stars to the bitter end – literally – a source tells People Jeff and Jenni’s friendship demise was captured on film. “They found fame together so there was always this thought that nothing could tear them apart, but that hasn’t been the case,” says a source who predicts, “their differences just got too big to overcome.” You can read excerpts from Jenni’s book about how Flipping Out began here.
Jenni hasn’t commented about any of this. I assume, if permitted, she’ll be releasing a statement soon. This is a big loss for Bravo, and for both Jeff and Jenni.
TELL US – DOES JENNI HAVE A VALID CASE FOR HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT AND WRONGFUL TERMINATION? WILL JEFF AND JENNI EVER BE FRIENDS AGAIN?