The Latest ‘Real Housewives’ Scandal Explained: Lisa Rinna’s Being Racist Again

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Axelle/Bauer-Griffin
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Things are looking rough for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills stars Lisa Rinna and Diana Jenkins following an Instagram feud that began after their fellow castmate Garcelle Beauvais called Jenkins “uneducated” on Wednesday’s Watch What Happens Live.

One would think the two white women, who have already been accused of attacking Black people on Instagram while season 12 of the Bravo show is airing, would want to scale back on the microaggressions. But the pair proved yesterday that they apparently can’t go long without being extremely racist.

The origins of the feud date back several weeks ago when Jenkins, the newest housewife to join the cast, left the comment, “It must be fun being a Black content creator” under a Black Instagram user’s post that poked fun at Jenkins. After receiving swift backlash online, the Bosnian socialite apologized, claiming she thought the term “Black content creator” referred to someone who made “snarky content” and blaming her snafu on not being from the U.S.—which many fans didn’t seem to buy.

When WWHL host Andy Cohen asked Beauvais, the series’ first and only Black cast member, what she thought about Jenkins’ comments this week, she swiftly replied, “She’s uneducated.” That prompted Jenkins to post the following response the next morning:

It didn’t take long for Housewives fans to point out the racist overtones and white savior messaging in Jenkins’ post, which was liked by Rinna and fellow Beverly Hills housewife Erika Jayne. For one thing, writing a million-dollar check to the Red Cross or whatever organization Jenkins gave money to doesn’t exonerate her from accusations of racism. Beauvais also never accused Jenkins of not being charitable. Not to mention, if Jenkins was enlightened enough to know how little people in Africa—and notably Haiti—have actually benefited from philanthropy, she may not want to broadcast that information.

This is when Rinna—who had nothing to do with the argument in the first place, aside from being a friend of Jenkins—decided to chime in, leaving the now-deleted comment, “when you have #receipts you show them.” Again, Jenkins’ “receipts,” so far, appear to just be tax write-offs.

After receiving heat for her comment, Rinna took to her famously cursed Instagram Stories to rage against fans calling her and the show’s other white cast members racist for their interactions with Beauvais.

“We fight on our show,” she wrote. “If we fight with Garcelle, we are, all of a sudden, called a racist. That’s bullshit. I will not accept that. I will express myself when and how I want, and I’m not afraid of any of you hoes.”

The Days of Our Lives actress continued in another Story, “If you are just so triggered by our show—and a lot of you pussies are—go watch Dubai.”

Predictably, this incited another war between Rinna and the cast of Real Housewives of Dubai, Bravo’s latest Housewives installment. Black cast members Chanel Ayan and Lesa Milan, in particular, didn’t take her jab lightly, promptly clapping back on Twitter. (Rinna has since responded on her Instagram Stories.)

It’s typical of Rinna, one of the most unapologetic antagonists you’ll find on Bravo and all of Instagram, to say something inflammatory and then move on to the next petty fight. And Bravo and Housewives fans have historically rewarded her (as well as Jayne) for this behavior while punishing other cast members like Real Housewives of Orange County’s Kelly Dodd for similar offenses.

But the remarks in Rinna’s Instagram Stories—interpreted both as a slight against the multi-racial cast on Dubai and Black viewers who are affected by their displays of racism—have seemingly gone too far this time, as viewers are now petitioning for her to be fired.

Adding even more texture to this controversy, viewers are also revisiting a moment from last season’s Beverly Hills reunion when Beauvais claimed she was told that Rinna said “she should’ve never brought race into the show” by a source she refused to name. Throughout Season 11, Beauvais had several conversations with the women about feeling excluded as the only Black woman in the group, and confronted Kyle Richards for invoking a stereotype about Black people when she accused her of backing out of a charity donation.

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It’s hard to predict if there will be any repercussions for Rinna, especially when it comes to possible termination. After all, it’s no secret that Cohen, an executive producer of the franchise, favors her for some reason. Jenkins, on the other hand, seems more obviously disposable and was already widely unpopular on social media, largely due to her rumored relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.

Whatever the consequences may be, this incident is just the latest example of Bravo’s sudden initiative to throw non-white housewives into all-white casts biting them in the ass. Considering that the network has recently been wrapped up in a slew of scandals involving racism, it wouldn’t be surprising if they tried to forge a resolution between Rinna and Beauvais and sweep the whole debacle under the rug. The internet, however, never forgets.

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