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A former 'Real Housewives' star with alcoholism is suing Bravo and Andy Cohen, accusing them of making her relapse for ratings

A former 'Real Housewives' star with alcoholism is suing Bravo and Andy Cohen, accusing them of making her relapse for ratings
  • Leah McSweeney, a former 'Real Housewives' star, is suing Bravo, Andy Cohen, and others.

  • The ex-star of the New York series has an alcohol-use disorder and has been open about her sobriety.

  • In the lawsuit, McSweeney accused the makers of the show of encouraging her to relapse for ratings.

Leah McSweeney, known for appearances on Seasons 12 and 13 of "The Real Housewives of New York City," is suing Bravo, executive producer Andy Cohen, and others, accusing them of encouraging her to relapse for ratings.

Filed in the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, the 109-page complaint claims that McSweeney was discriminated against because she is a woman with disabilities, including alcohol use disorder, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Among other allegations, it accuses the defendants, which also includes showrunners, NBCUniversal (the parent company of Bravo), Shed Media (the show's production company), and Warner Media (the parent company of Shed), of fostering a hostile work environment.

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The complaint, which Business Insider reviewed, said the defendants "established a rotted workplace culture" that depended on pressuring cast members to consume alcohol.

McSweeney, who also appeared on the spin-off show "The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip," was candid with viewers and producers about her sobriety journey.

But the complaint says that on group vacations, cast members were provided with unlimited alcohol and little to no food or water, which was intended to "induce female cast members to behave inappropriately and unsafely," it said.

The lawsuit accuses the producers of encouraging McSweeney to drink alcohol, despite being aware of her sobriety, as well as depicting her relapse as entertaining moments.

NBCUniversal, which owns Bravo and employs several defendants listed in the lawsuit, and Warner Media, which owns Shed Media, did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for comment.

A spokesperson for Cohen told BI: "The claims against Andy are completely false."

According to the lawsuit, McSweeney had been sober for around nine years until a brief relapse about five months before joining the show.

A short while before filming her first season, she regained sobriety and told producers and cast members that she wished to remain sober, it said.

However, according to the complaint, producers discriminated against her by intentionally planning scenarios intended to exacerbate her disabilities.

It alleged that they did this to drive her "to the brink of insanity and forced her to break her sobriety because it would create morbidly salacious reality television."

According to the complaint, she relapsed into alcohol addiction shortly after joining Season 12.

The complaint also said that McSweeney received no reasonable accommodations and was coerced into filming during vulnerable moments, fearing retaliation if she did not cooperate.

Despite maintaining her sobriety during Season 13, McSweeney said in the lawsuit that she faced reprisal from producers who suggested viewers would find her boring without alcohol, which she feared would lead to her losing her job.

The lawsuit said that after filming Season 13, McSweeney was admitted to a psychiatric facility.

The complaint also makes another allegation against Cohen, who it accuses of engaging in cocaine use with "Bravolebrities."

It said that Cohen gave favorable treatment to Housewives he did cocaine with.

Last week, former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Brandi Glanville accused Cohen of sending her an inappropriate video in 2022, calling the alleged incident an "abuse of power."

Cohen responded on X, saying he was "very clearly joking,'" adding that he nonetheless apologized and it was "totally inappropriate."

Last month, Caroline Manzo, who previously appeared on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," also brought a lawsuit against Bravo, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, Shed Media, and others over allegations of sexual misconduct during filming.

McSweeney, who declined to be interviewed, said in a statement posted on Instagram: "Your favorite Bravo shows are run by people who create a dangerous work environment, encourage substance abuse to artificially create drama and cynically prey on the vulnerabilities of their employees."

She ended the statement with the warning: "I will see you in court."

McSweeney is seeking an unspecified amount of damages and a trial by jury.

Read the original article on Business Insider