In September, Michael, 59, was accused of “grabbing and groping” the butt of a cameraman while filming an episode of RHOP. The charges of felony assault and misdemeanor improper sexual conduct were dismissed on Oct. 4 in a Montgomery County court due to insufficient evidence.
Sunday’s episode captured the Housewives’ reaction to the initial media report. Ashley kept it cool on the surface. “We had a preliminary case, and the judge threw it out,” she told costar Gizelle Bryant on the phone. “That isn’t new. I’m not worried about it.”
“We’re actually stronger than ever,” she said of herself and Michael, who didn’t appear in the episode. (Indeed, the Darbys welcomed their first child together, son Dean Michael, on July 7.)
When speaking to the cameras, she admitted feeling anxious when the news broke.
“To be completely candid, when I first got the notice, I had a little breakdown,” said Ashley, 31. “I get very apprehensive talking about this, because it’s not my case. I don’t know all of the details of what happened, but it’s troubling.”
Meanwhile, the other Housewives tried to get to the bottom of what allegedly happened.
According to initial reports, Orville Palmer — the Housewives cameraman who alleged the assault — claimed Darby gave him “a flirtatious look” after the grope. Orville said he instructed Darby to stop, then told his supervisor.
“I remember that cameraman and I was wondering about that man,” said Monique Samuels, who claimed the alleged incident occurred at her rainbow baby shower earlier in the season. “How humiliating is that, to have another grown man, old enough to probably be his grandfather, grope your butt, and you have to probably go tell your supervisor?”
“Consent is everything,” said Karen Huger, calling Palmer “a very nice man.”
Both Samuels and Huger said they hoped things worked out for the Darbys.
“I’m just at a loss for words,” said Samuels. “This point, the only thing I can do is what I would want for me, which is for my close friends and my circle to encourage me. So I’m going to just encourage her. I really, truly feel bad for her. Whatever move she needs to make, I’m here.”
“I don’t wish any ill,” said Huger.
The other Housewives had similar messages of support, despite any past friction among the ladies.
“I really pray everything works out in their favor, but I pray it’s a lesson learned,” said Robyn Dixon.
“I do feel bad for her,” said Candiace Dillard. “Like, damn, this cannot be easy for her.”
But when they metup with Ashley at an event later on in the episode, they argued about previous disagreements.
“Karma is a bitch, honey” Huger screamed at one point. “The bar of soap? You might want to help your husband.”
“As people who are close to me, I would love to tell you what is going on, but unfortunately, I cannot share it with you,” Ashley said. “I just encourage you to wait for the truth and wait for this to play out, because it shall.”
The Real Housewives of Potomac airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.