“Bravo has ceased filming with Jennie Nguyen and she will no longer be a cast member of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” the network said in a post on its official Instagram account Tuesday afternoon.
Over the span of six months in 2020, as Black Lives Matter demonstrations electrified the country, Nguyen shared and reposted memes, photos, and statements that many considered to be anti-Black, pro-police, and blatantly racist.
“I’m sick of people saying cops need more training,” one Facebook post from September 2020 read. “You had 18 years to teach your kids it’s wrong to loot, steal, set buildings a blaze, block traffic, laser people’s eyes, overturn cars, destroy buildings and attack citizens. Who failed who?”
Another post she shared earlier that month read: “Hundreds of blacks shot and many killed (including children) by other blacks every week. Over a thousand Officers violently injured, some permanently, by rioters. Anarchists rioting in major cities every night, which has caused billions of dollars of destruction to private and public property. And you still think Police Officers are the problem. You are an idiot.”
After the now-deleted posts surfaced last week, Nguyen shared an apology, saying, “I want to acknowledge and apologize for my deleted Facebook posts from 2020 that resurfaced today. At the time, I thought I was speaking out against violence, but I have since learned how offensive and hurtful my words were.”
She continued to film with the cast, as Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is currently in production, but Bravo fans and Nguyen’s castmates were quick to express their anger and disappointment.
Fellow cast member Jen Shah posted on her Instagram account: “I am deeply offended by the racially insensitive posts and comments. It was infuriating to see her like and repost comments that made a mockery of and showed complete apathy toward those killed marching to bring awareness to the deep-seeded [sic] social justice issues that plague our country. I am equally disappointed by the disingenuous apology that was issued. Needless to say, we have some real sh*t to talk about.”
Other cast members initially posted vague maxims condemning hateful speech, without going into detail about Nguyen’s comments. On Twitter, Meredith Marks alluded to the fact that, at first, the cast wasn’t allowed to say more; it’s been reported that it’s against the Housewives’ contracts to publicly discuss plot points while the show is in production. When that gag order was lifted, they didn’t mince words.
“Since it was not perfectly clear in my previous tweet and I can now speak out in more depth, I am sickened by my co-worker's racist and prejudicial posts that recently surfaced,” Marks wrote. “I do not stand behind or support these posts in any way, shape, or form.”
Cast member Heather Gay also alluded to having to wait to share her full thoughts, eventually writing on Instagram, “I can finally speak out today and I want to say that I am deeply shocked saddened and disappointed by the blatantly racist and derogatory statements reshared and liked by one of my fellow castmates. There can be no haven in this world for hateful anti-black and violent rhetoric. It is up to all of us to do the work of anti-racism and educate ourselves on the experiences of others.”
Over the past two years, Bravo has had a public reckoning with the allegedly racist behavior of some of the cast members on its shows, and its own responsibility as a platform to be anti-racist.
Vanderpump Rules stars Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute were fired for reporting a Black cast member to the police for a crime she didn’t commit, while fellow cast members Max Boyens and Brett Cipriani were fired over past racist tweets. Jax Taylor was also later fired. Meanwhile, Real Housewives stars Kelly Dodd (Orange County) and LeeAnne Locken (Dallas) were let go because of controversial remarks. And attempts to bring racial awareness and positive conversation into the Dallas franchise backfired so upsettingly that the series was effectively canceled.
Given these past actions, fans were confused why Nguyen wasn’t similarly reprimanded and instead allowed to still film the series. Even if the cast brought up the posts and held her to task for them, she was still essentially being paid to defend her past alleged racism—something that didn’t sit right with a lot of fans.
Bravo’s statement addressed those missteps as well. “We recognize we failed to take appropriate action once [Nguyen’s] offensive social media posts were brought to our attention. Moving forward, we will work to improve our processes and make better informed and more thoughtful decisions.”