The Real Housewives of Potomac star Ashley Darby‘s husband Michael Darby is speaking out and claiming the shocking video footage purporting to show an encounter between him and a Bravo cameraman who accused him of assault was manipulated. Ashley’s castmate Monique Samuels also appears to be backing up his claim.
The alleged incident happened back in September 2018, when a Bravo cameraman accused Michael of “grabbing and groping” his butt at Monique’s rainbow baby shower. Michael was later charged with assault, but despite the charges being dropped due to “insufficient evidence” back in October, recently aired footage of Michael just moments after the alleged incident occurred has left us all scratching our heads.
While the footage didn’t actually reveal any touching, the words exchanged told a story all on their own. In the video, you see Michael conversing with a crew member who makes it clear he doesn’t like what the Bravo star is doing. “Please don’t do that,” the crew member says multiple times as Michael passes by him.
Later in the footage, a man attempts to stop Michael as he attempts to walk away. “Hold on. Mike, Mike, hold on. Hold on!” the man says.
“I didn’t touch your butt. I didn’t touch your butt!” Michael yells back. “Come on, I’ll get a beer.”
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The unseen footage from Monique’s Rainbow Party of Michael and the allegations against him are very telling … smh it’s sad I don’t know if there’s any coming back from this. What do y’all think ? #rhop #reality #show #metoo #consent #pleasedontdothat #nstavideo #bravo #nbc #andycohen #hotcelebritea
Echoing his wife Ashley’s statement from last night, Michael released a statement to PEOPLE after watching the footage himself. He’s also blaming the production company for portraying him in a bad light.
“On one hand, I was amused by the production company’s amateurish attempt to affect the viewers opinion by first showing video that clearly does not show any improper action by me and then try to couple that with another video which was taken 4 hours later by a different cameraman of a conversation with a cousin of a cast member — not the cameraman — who whenever I see him refers to a well-documented, harmless event that occurred in season one,” the reality star said. “On the other hand it shows the level people will stoop to in order to get ratings.”
“This was a serious situation where an employee of the production company tried to take advantage of my wife and I by making up a story to try to profit from it,” the 54-year-old man added. “The fact that the production company appears to endorse his actions by splicing together disconnected and unrelated events in order to also profit is really scary for people in my position.”
Ashley’s castmate Monique also appears to be backing up the couple’s claims that part of the footage was manipulated. According to Monique, the second voice telling Michael, “Hold on. Mike, Mike, hold on,” was actually her cousin Hank‘s voice, and not the cameraman’s.
“Confused as to why they have @hankdavis27’s voice at the end of the episode talking to Michael… that wasn’t the cameraman 🤔,” Monique tweeted on July 28 after the episode aired.
Monique’s cousin also chimed in saying the same thing.
“It’s crazy cause Micheal [and] I had a conversation a lil earlier that day after being mic’d up. They used the end of that conversation at the end of the show tonight. The part inside the basement, the very end. [And] hell no my a– wasn’t touched!” tweeted Hank.
So, it appears like the first part of the footage was indeed a conversation between Michael and the cameraman, while the later part was between Michael and Monique’s cousin Hank. It’s possible the producers might have included the later footage so the audience could hear Michael denying the allegation.
As for Ashley, her statement about the footage is below.
UPDATE: A rep for the RHOP production company has issued a statement denying any claims of manipulating the footage.
“Pertaining to Michael Darby’s scenes in last night’s Real Housewives of Potomac, there was no manipulation of audio or video; the footage that aired in last night’s episode depicted events exactly as they occurred,” said Truly Original in a statement to PEOPLE.
The Real Housewives of Potomac airs Sunday nights on Bravo at 8/7c.
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