Raquel Leviss believes Kristen Doute was given a role on the new Vanderpump Rules spinoff to keep her from vocalizing her claims regarding the alleged abuse she sustained amid her past romance with James Kennedy.
As Raquel, 28, looked back on her time on season 10, stating that the series is not a “safe place” and noting that her affair with Tom Sandoval, 40, saved the show on the latest episode of Bethenny Frankel‘s podcast, she also suggested Bravo offered Kristen, 40, her own show in an effort to keep a potential scandal surrounding James, 31, at bay and reflected on the emotional abuse she sustained at the season 10 reunion.
“In the moment, I felt like I deserved it. But, after taking some time away and seeing things more objectively, absolutely I was emotionally abused,” Raquel stated on the August 17 episode of Just B With Bethenny.
Although Bethenny, 52, admitted on the episode that she was not a viewer of the show, she told her audience she got a therapist to watch the reunion.
“He said, ‘There’s a difference between punishment and abuse.’ He said, ‘Punishment is [when] you’re banished from the friend group … This was not a punishment from everybody. This was abuse,’” she shared. “He said, ‘Usually there’s a goal. In this particular case… There was no goal for conflict resolution. It was just a beatdown on a treadmill… It was a loop. It was a constant beating that was abusive.’”
During one moment of the show, Andy Cohen, 55, told Raquel to “come back” to set, per Bethenny, after she briefly left to get a sip of water.
“When I get nervous my mouth gets parched and I kinda already knew that I would be emotionally abused by my cast members by going back and doing the reunion,” she explained. “It’s like, I have to own up to it… [But] do I deserve this hate? Is this hate justified because what I’ve done is so horrendous?”
After Bethenny read several insults that her castmates spewed at her amid the drama-filled reunion, including claims of her being “ugly” and a “moron,” Raquel said that “nobody should ever be spoken to like that.”
“We’re all human. We’re just navigating through life and we’re bound to make mistakes. I know that I’m not lesser than, or even greater than anybody else, that’s one of the lessons that I’ve learned at The Meadows,” Raquel noted, signaling to her two-month stay at the Arizona mental health facility.
“It’s very difficult in that moment to accept those words that are being thrown at you and it’s much easier to disassociate and just let it fly on over because who can even accept that and be like, ‘Oh you’re throwing this stuff at me? Let me look at it. Oh yeah, that’s all mine,'” she wondered. “I can see that those words are filled with hate and intended to put me down and make me feel like someone who is not worthy of love, who’s not worthy of acceptance or living life and I know that I am worthy … I just can’t accept those words.”
After she and Sandoval were put through the wringer at the taping, their executive producer, Alex Baskin, admitted Pump Rules would’ve come to an end if it weren’t for their controversial and highly-publicized romance.
“Alex Baskin, our executive producer, went on record and said the show was going to be canceled after season 10 and if it wasn’t for ‘Scandoval’ there wouldn’t be another season,” she revealed.
But as the show saw a major increase in ratings, Raquel felt protected by no one, including Lisa Vanderpump, 62.
“There really isn’t anybody that’s a safe place to go to. I don’t think that anybody on that show has my best interest at heart so it’s hard for me to be so trusting like I once was,” she explained.
As for her claims regarding Kristen, Raquel found it odd that just weeks after Kristen appeared on the Good Guys podcast, where she alluded to truths coming out about James, saying, “It’s a little dark,” news of her spinoff was confirmed.
“Kristen was just starting to talk about her tumultuous relationship with James and what happened behind closed doors, and then all of a sudden she’s presented with this spinoff, which I believe is a way to silence her, to keep that under wraps so that the longevity of Vanderpump Rules can continue,” Raquel alleged.
She then noted that because of her and Sandoval’s affair, formerly axed cast members are returning to Pump Rules.
“The cast members that were fired and canceled at that time, now have this big comeback because this scandal is so salacious that we are the ultimate villains, Tom and I, and now they have a platform to redeem themselves.”
While Kristen may have been silenced by Bravo about James, Raquel said she’s seen him be violent before and hopes the truth will one day be exposed.
“I’ve seen him be a violent person so I have no doubt that what she’s saying is true,” Raquel confirmed. “I hope that one day it will come to light and there will be justice.”
Vanderpump Rules season 11 is expected to begin airing on Bravo sometime later this year or in early 2024.