Caroline Manzo’s Lawsuit Against Bravo Is a Turning Point

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For the last few years, Bravo has been dealing with a reality reckoning. And while the network has tried to ignore claims from former personalities like Bethenny Frankel, Stassi Schroeder, and Rachel Leviss, it is getting harder and harder to pretend that Bravo isn’t more interested in ratings than they are their talent. With Caroline Manzo now suing the network, it could mean a turning point in reality TV as we know it. 

The Claims

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Earlier this week, reports surfaced about Caroline and Brandi Glanville‘s run-in, which included a bit more background information. Back in early 2023, viewers learned that Caroline claimed that Brandi forcibly kissed her and groped her vagina and breasts while taping the Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip.

In court documents, via Variety, Caroline has alleged that Bravo and NBCUniversal knew of Brandi’s history of bad behavior, which included sexual harassment, but still chose to hire her in hopes of good ratings. The documents stated, “Defendants even encouraged Ms. Glanville to become drunk on the set so that she would be more likely to commit outrageous and harassing acts, thereby helping Defendants’ ratings without regard to the rights and safety of those around her.”

Does Bravo Care About Its Stars?

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Alcohol seems to have played heavily into this incident, and this isn’t the first time Bravo has been called out for having the drinks free flowing. In 2018, Aviva Drescher accused the network of liquoring up the cast. “I was so weak and so intimidated by the production team, and I had just gone through all the negotiations of my contract for the second season, and those were demoralizing,” Aviva told Page Six. “I took the shot…I felt tremendous pressure to do it.”

Caroline has been a well-loved member of the since her time on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, so the question has been raised—if Bravo isn’t looking out for their star makers, who are they looking out for? The new lawsuit makes it clearer than ever that change is desperately needed.

No Help Was Given

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The court documents alleged that Caroline was in a state of shock but that the Bravo cameras kept rolling. “Defendants continued filming Plaintiff throughout even though she [Caroline] was in distress from the sexual assaults,” court documents read. Caroline’s legal team are accusing Bravo of prioritizing filming over Caroline’s health and safety. They even claim Caroline sought help from Alex McCord, who is now a licensed psychologist, for her “emotional distress.”

But Caroline isn’t the only one to feel the network wasn’t looking out for her physical and emotional safety. Other Bravo stars have claimed they asked for help in the past, including Rachel after Scandoval.

While talking to Bethenny on her Just B podcast, Rachel revealed that she was supposed to have a mental health advocate on set with her during the reunion. However, Rachel claims that when she arrived, no one had been hired. The former model shared, “It was promised to me that I would have a mental health advocate in my trailer as I watched the first two parts of the reunion. That was taken away from me. The night before—like the day before the reunion.”

It’s clear that many Bravo stars felt the network treated them more as pawns than people, but so far, not much has come of it. However, Caroline Manzo’s lawsuit against Bravo could prove much harder to ignore.

Controversies and Alleged Cover-Ups

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The issues currently happening with Caroline seem to be a pattern for the network. In addition to other claims against Bravo, the network has also been accused of covering up sexual misconduct issues in the past. A production member on Below Deck Sailing Yacht spoke out to Rolling Stone about an alleged encounter she had with Gary King, claiming Bravo tried to cover it up.

At the time, the team member claimed that Gary tried to make sexual advances on her without her consent. She alleged to have sent emails to Bravo producers and HR complaining about them never limiting Gary’s alcohol consumption. After the claims were made, Gary wasn’t able to attend BravoCon 2023. But other than that, not much has been done.

However, Caroline Manzo’s lawsuit against Bravo isn’t going to be as easy for the network to brush aside. Viewers will likely never see this particular season of the RHUGT. But questions have to be asked now that a pattern seems to have emerged. Are ratings more important than a talent’s safety?

Everyone, including the network, stars, and viewers, needs to do better. In the wake of this shocking incident, perhaps Bravo finally will.