Bravo Insists Reality TV Stars Can Break NDAs to Expose ‘Illegal Acts,’ as Bethenny Frankel Slams “Bullsh*t Response”

by Lindsay Cronin Comments

NBCUniversal and Bravo Insists Reality Stars' NDAs Are Signed Only to Protect Storylines as Bethenny Slams "Bullsh*t Response

NBCUniversal and its subsidiary, Bravo, are fighting back against claims that they force their reality stars to sign ironclad NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) that prevent them from coming forward about potential misconduct behind the scenes of their shows.

Days after attorneys Bryan Freedman and Mark Geragos sent a letter to NBCUniversal’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Kimberley D. Harris, which stated that the NDAs “are unlawful and unenforceable” and use “fear” to protect themselves, the media giants have issued a response.

“In the course of our investigation, we have not only confirmed the veracity of our initial allegations but have also discovered that the breadth and scope of your wrongdoing is greater than previously believed,” Freedman had written in his letter. “We are left with the inescapable conclusion that NBC and its production partners are grappling with systemic rot for which sunlight is the first necessary remedial measure.”

The attorney’s letter also demanded NBCUniversal and Bravo abandon the “draconian terms of NBC’s contracts with its cast and crew” and “lead by example or be forced into compliance.”

But according to Bravo, its contracts are “standard practice” to ensure that storylines aren’t spoiled ahead of new seasons.

“Confidentiality clauses are standard practice in reality programming to prevent disclosure of storylines prior to air. They are not intended to prevent disclosure by cast and crew of unlawful acts in the workplace, and they have not been enforced in that manner,” a Bravo spokesperson told Deadline. “To be clear: any current or former cast or crew is free to discuss and disclose any allegedly unlawful acts in the workplace, such as harassment or discrimination, or any other conduct they have reason to believe is inappropriate. We are also working with our third-party production companies to remind all cast and crew that they are encouraged to report any such concerns through the channels made available by the production company so concerns can be promptly addressed.”

As part of Bravo’s Respect in the Workplace policy, the report continued, cast and crew members are given multiple ways, including an anonymous hotline, to report misconduct.

However, according to Real Housewives of New York City alum Bethenny Frankel, 52, who has been working alongside Freedman and his associates as she calls for reality stars to unionize, Bravo’s response to the claims about its NDAs is “f*ckng bulls*t.”

“Bravo issued a response saying that cast members on reality television are not held to NDAs for any reason besides protecting storylines. That’s just f*ckng bulls*t,” she declared in an audio clip shared by Bravo Snark Side on Instagram on August 29. “People have been allegedly threatened that if they speak about anything in any area, including their experience on reality television or just anything, like if they talk about anything that goes on, they will get sued.  It’s certainly not about storylines because you see storylines discussed everywhere on social media long before they air. So it’s just a bullsh*t response and it’s a way for them to try to protect their reputation and make it like there are no illegal practices and violations behind the scenes.”

“Having been on reality television, you definitely don’t feel like you can speak out about anything behind the scenes, and storylines [are] never something that anybody even talks to you about not sharing,” she continued. “I’ve never once heard of Bravo or anyone saying, ‘Please protect the storyline.’ Because nothing is the same when it’s on camera and all the time storylines get revealed in the media and people never get threatened to be sued but many people have been threatened to be sued by the powers that be for talking about anything that goes on in production.”

“So, that’s just not true but it’s a great f*cking bullsh*t corporate answer,” she added.