BravoCon 2024 Has Been Cancelled – A Deep Dive Into The Many Lawsuits and Scandals Rocking Bravo

Former employees have spoke out against the network

Andy Cohen

by Charlotte Roberts |
Published on

No Brynn Whitfield breaking escalators with her Louboutins, no 'Pat the Puss' dance tutorials with Erika Jayne, no Lisa Vanderpump parading her dog down the red carpet - it’s now been officially confirmed that fan convention BravoCon will not return to Las Vegas this November. However, given the slew of recent lawsuits building up against the network and its main man Andy Cohen, fans aren't entirely surprised...

From a guilty pleasure to a form of therapy, Bravo has garnered an almost cult following across the world with its impressive roster of now-iconic TV shows – including the Housewives franchises, Vanderpump Rules, and Below Deck.

Andy Cohen at BravoCon 2023
Andy Cohen at BravoCon 2023 ©Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

When Grazia attended BravoCon last year, it was impossible not to be blown away with the mammoth three-day event. The epicentre for all things Bravo, a general admission ticket to the weekend convention - filled with merch stands, meet and greets, and panel talks galore - could set you back upwards of £400.

Clearly, price is no issue for Bravo fans. The network reported that the 2023 convention saw 27,000 descend on Las Vegas, with an impressive 67% of attendees saying they would be ‘excited to come back.’

Which is exactly why many were shocked to learn that BravoCon would not take place at all this year - returning in November 2025.

In recent years, it’s become impossible to ignore the ever-growing darker side of Bravo (owned by NBCUniversal). Ozempic speculation, issues of consent on the set, among with a scattering of lawsuits from former employees have all hit headlines. When asked by Grazia at BravoCon 2023 about balancing controversial moments with the onslaught of public attention, host Andy Cohen – who is dubbed everything from ‘boss’ to ‘daddy’ by his gaggle of employees – diplomatically answered, ‘PR is PR.’

Now, as fans accept that there’ll be no BravoCon getaway this year, we deep dive into the lawsuits and scandals that have faced the popular TV network.

Bethenny Frankel's 'Reality Reckoning'

Former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel is the woman behind the ‘reality reckoning’ that shook the very foundation of Bravo.

Last year – a mere weeks ahead of BravoCon – Frankel rocked the boat by calling for reality TV stars to have their own union, arguing they should earn residual payments for reruns of shows. 'Just because you can, as a streamer or a network, play the show as much as you want, doesn't mean you should,' she told Variety, adding, 'When you get a ratings bump or something happens, you should share. Networks and streamers have been exploiting people for too long.'

At other points, Frankel claimed that Bravo's stars were kept silent by NDAs, preventing them from discussing any workplace issues. A Bravo spokesperson later denied these claims, clarifying that NDAs are only used to protect storylines, with cast and crew 'free to discuss and disclose any allegedly unlawful acts in the workplace.'

Bethenny Frankel, January 2024 ©Credit: Arturo Holmes/WireImage via Getty

It's important to know that Frankel has said she is 'not hiring lawyers' nor suing Bravo - but her standpoint was enough to shake things up. Indeed, her absence hung like a cloud at BravoCon 2023, with any mention of her name quickly shut down during fan Q&As.

April 2024: Vanderpump Rules star Faith Stowers sues Bravo

In recent weeks, it emerged that Vanderpump Rules star Faith Stowers had filed a lawsuit against Bravo for ‘racism, sexual harassment and physical assault.’

According to the court documents, Stowers accused Bravo of discrimination, retaliation, and enabling an unsafe work environment on set. She also named three of her former castmates – Lala Kent, Stassi Schroeder, and Kristen Doute – for harassment. The trio have yet to address the claims.

In one instance, Stowers alleges that Kent held a knife up to her neck and threatened to ‘cut a b*tch’ when filming at Lisa Vanderpump’s SUR restaurant in season four. She then went on to name the executive producer of the show, claiming they discouraged her from filing a police report against Kent.

Stowers then alleged that Schroeder and Doute - who were both axed from the cast in 2020 - had once called her a ‘serial criminal’ who drugged and robbed men in the Los Angeles area, filing a ‘false’ police report. Elsewhere, she claimed she was regularly taunted with racially insensitive remarks on set, including being mocked for having ‘nappy hair.’

Bravo did not respond to Grazia's request for comment.

Faith Stowers
Faith Stowers ©Desiree Stone/Getty Images

Stowers isn’t the first star to raise claims about racism on set. In 2022, Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes sued Bravo for racial discrimination, before later dropping the lawsuit. That same year, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’s Jennie Nguyen was fired after racist memes she shared in 2020 resurfaced online. And at BravoCon 2023, it was impossible to hide from the fact that _RHONY'_s Ramona Singer was not present, having reportedly used a racial slur towards a reporter. Two years prior, Variety reported that Singer had been investigated for racist remarks during RHONY season 13, which featured Eboni K Williams as the show’s first Black cast member.

March 2024: Leah McSweeney sues Bravo and Andy Cohen over 'rotted' work culture

Leah McSweeney appeared on two seasons of RHONY from 2020-2021, before starring in a recent season of Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip.

But earlier this year, it emerged she was suing both Bravo and Cohen himself, alleging that a 'rotted' work culture pressured cast members to consume alcohol, causing her to relapse. Indeed, alcohol is a familiar sight on many Bravo shows - including regular drinking games on Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live.

Taking to her Instagram, she wrote, 'Today, I am taking back my reality.'

'The reckless and diabolical way in which the people at the top drool over the mishaps and misfortunes of the women, including myself, are disturbing. It's a workplace culture where toxicity, alcoholism and pain are not only expected but encouraged and facilitated. This is something I most definitely did not sign up for nor would I ever endorse.'

Leah McSweeney ©John Lamparski/Getty Images

McSweeney also alleged that cocaine use was rampant at the network, with court documents obtained by Page Six claiming Cohen ‘tends to provide the Housewives with whom he uses cocaine with more favourable treatment.'

Cohen’s team responded by saying ‘the claims against Andy are completely false.’ In a legal letter obtained by TMZ, Cohen’s legal team urged McSweeney to retract her ‘categorically false’ allegations, accusing the star of trying to ‘get headlines and a quick payday.’

January 2024: Caroline Manzo sues Bravo for sexual harassment

Elsewhere, another Housewife star questioned the role of alcohol on set – with Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip star Caroline Manzo claiming the production plied the cast with alcohol when filming in Morocco at the start of 2023.

According to court documents obtained by Page Six, Manzo alleged that she was sexually assaulted on set by co-star Brandi Glanville, saying ‘[Glanville] proceeded to mount Manzo on the couch holding Manzo down with her body, forcibly squeezed Manzo’s cheeks together and thrust her tongue in Manzo’s mouth, while humping her.’

Caroline Manzo
Caroline Manzo attends the 'Legends Ball' at 2022 BravoCon ©Credit: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Strikingly, the lawsuit is not against Glanville, with Manzo instead seeking to hold Bravo responsible. The document continues, ‘Defendants, including Bravo, regularly ply the Real Housewives cast with alcohol, cause them to become severely intoxicated, and then direct, encourage and/or allow them to sexually harass other cast members because that is good for ratings. Caroline Manzo is a victim of those harmful actions.’

Releasing a statement in response, Glanville’s team branded the lawsuit ‘false,’ saying, ‘When filming, Brandi followed what the producers asked of her, and there was no sexual assault.’

‘She is innocent of these absurd accusations that have weighed on her mental and physical health for far too long without work of support from Peacock, Shed or Bravo.’

Bravo did not respond to Grazia's request for comment.

February 2024: Brandi Glanville hits back

Shortly after being named in Caroline Manzo’s lawsuit, Glanville went on to accuse Cohen of inviting her to watch him have sex with Below Deck's Kate Chastain. In the explosive legal letter obtained by Daily Mail, the former Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star threatened the Bravo host with a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Brandi Glanville attend the 'Legends Ball' at BravoCon 2022

Andy later apologised via Twitter, writing ‘The video shows Kate Chastain and I very clearly joking to Brandi. It was absolutely meant in jest, and Brandi’s response clearly communicated she was in on the joke. That said, it was totally inappropriate and I apologise.’

February 2024: Rachel Leviss addresses Scandoval

Scandoval has no doubt been one of Vanderpump Rules most defining moments, in which it was discovered Tom Sandoval had been cheating on long-term partner Ariana Madix with the couple’s co-star, Raquel Leviss (now known as Rachel.) The fallout was captured on camera, with both Leviss and Sandoval shamed by viewers.

After stepping down from the show, Leviss filed a lawsuit in February against both Sandoval and Madix for ‘revenge porn, eavesdropping and invasion of privacy.’ Last year, it was reported that Leviss had partaken in an intimate FaceTime conversation with Sandoval that was recorded without her knowledge. Talking to Bethenny Frankel on her podcast, she said, ‘If he would’ve asked for permission, I would’ve said no.’

Elsewhere in the interview, Leviss spoke about feeling ‘expolited’ by Bravo. ‘The network is running to the bank – like laughing, running to the bank with this Scandal,’ she shared, ‘and I haven’t seen a single penny,’

Rachel Leviss
Rachel Leviss on 'Vanderpump Rules' ©Bravo

According to the Daily Mail, Leviss’s legal complaint reads, ‘Scandoval captured the public’s attention in a massive way, went completely viral, and injected new life into Vanderpump Rules.’

‘It also caused mayhem in Leviss’s life, culminating in months-long in-patient treatment at a mental health facility and her departure from the show. [Leviss] was subjected to a public skewering with little precedent and became, without exaggeration, one of the most hated women in America.’

Bravo, NBCUniversal, and Andy Cohen were not named in the lawsuit, but are frequently mentioned. Madix and Sandoval's team did not respond to Grazia's request for comment.

October 2023: Staff member sues Bravo for sexual assault

Adding yet another legal battle in the Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip universe, a butler named Marco Vega – who appeared on season two of the show while working at housewife Dorinda Medley’s luxury manor – filed a lawsuit in October 2023 for sexual assault and harassment.

In the documents, Vega alleged that he was slapped on the buttocks by Phaedra Parks, and ‘forcibly stripped’ after Brandi Glanville ripped his shirt off.

After the lawsuit emerged, both Bravo and Shed called for courts to dismiss the lawsuit. According to them, Vega filed the suit in the wrong state, also calling one of his claims ‘frivolous.’ They said, ‘Plaintiff’s vague allegation that he told producers that he was being sexually harassed by Glanville lacks any specificity, including when he allegedly made this statement, to whom, and how they responded.’

2021: Married To Medicine's Mariah Huq speaks out against Bravo

Shortly after #BoycottBravo appeared on Twitter in 2021, Married To Medicine's Mariah Huq attempted to sue Bravo for discrimination.

A leading cast member on the reality series, Huq was also credited with being the creator and executive producer. However, it was alleged in the lawsuit that Bravo '[stole] Huq's creation Married To Medicine, refusing to pay her royalties, and giving her credit for spinoffs.'

Huq, who is Muslim, later alleged that producers refused to let her wear her hijab during filming, before arguing that she was treated differently to her white counterparts.

During a podcast appearance in 2022, Huq confirmed that she did not move forward with the lawsuit - explaining, 'Certain things didn’t materialise because they didn’t have to. It worked itself out. Things were tied up and worked out in a beautiful way.'

Bravolebrities stand up for the network

Scandals and lawsuits from have long followed Bravo, but many current stars have stood up for the network they call home. RHOBH's Kyle Richards, who has been on the show for over 10 years, insisted 'We've never been made to feel like we have to drink, never, not one time.'

And after Bethenny Frankel's 'reality reckoning' went viral, RHONY's Luann de Lesseps denied allegations that women were encouraged to do things against their will. She said, 'For me, on the occasion, I've said "I'm going home" or whatever. I just leave early, or I choose not to go. Nobody forces you to do anything, it's really up to you.'

'I know for some people it's not [a similar experience], and so I don't think that what [Frankel's] doing is wrong. I just think that by suing and all of that, you're going after the hand that fed you and made you a star.'

When it comes to whether exploitation and pressure on set is an ethical challenge or a tool for making reality TV gold, it seems the world - and reality stars themselves - are still deciding. Bravo is the ultimate entertainment, but the after effects aren't always so funny.

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