Andy Cohen Fires Back at Leah McSweeney’s ‘Categorically False’ Cocaine Allegations: ‘The Truth Matters’

Andy Cohen — executive producer of Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise and the host of its nightly talk show “Watch What Happens Live” — has fired back against allegations made in a lawsuit by Leah McSweeney, a former cast member of “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

In a letter sent on March 6 to McSweeney’s representation from his attorney, Orin Snyder, Cohen calls her allegations “false, offensive and defamatory.”

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On Feb. 27, McSweeney filed a complaint against Cohen, Bravo and NBCUniversal alleging that Cohen fostered a “rotted workplace culture,” as she told the New York Times in an interview. McSweeney also claimed that the executive producer had “discriminated against, tormented, demoralized, demeaned, harassed and retaliated against Ms. McSweeney because she is a woman with disabilities, such as alcohol use disorder and various mental health disorders, all in the name of selling drama.”

The lawsuit also accused Cohen of using cocaine with various Bravo cast members, and claimed that he would reward the cast members who participated with “favorable” edits in their respective series. Cohen’s lawyer vehemently denies these allegations.

In the letter, Cohen’s lawyer states that “virtually every statement about Mr. Cohen contained in the complaint is false and will be proven so if this baseless lawsuit proceeds, we demand that you immediately retract and withdraw all allegations relating to Mr. Cohen’s purported ‘cocaine use,’ including but not limited to the allegation that Mr. Cohen “engages in cocaine use with Housewives and other ‘Bravolebrities’ that he employs.”

The letter continues, stating that without a retraction Cohen reserves the right to hold McSweeney accountable, “to the fullest extent of the law.”

“To be clear: these allegations are categorically false,” Snyder writes. “Mr. Cohen never used cocaine with any cast member on any Real Housewives show or with any other Bravo employee. The absence of any reasonable basis to make such allegations is confirmed by your pleading itself… While proclaimed as facts, these allegations are missing every detail, including the who, where, and when. That is because you know that no such details exist, as a slew of current and former cast members has independently confirmed (which you well know through press reports). The allegations were obviously made up by you and/or your client to achieve maximum tabloid clickbait value in the hopes of weaponizing these false allegations—along with other lies that permeate the complaint—as leverage to force an unjustified settlement. It will not. Instead, this conduct only subjects you and your client to independent and substantial legal exposure.”

Cohen’s representation is requesting a swift retraction and apology from McSweeney. “The truth matters,” Synder writes. “Litigation cannot be used to create fake news. And it cannot be used as a vehicle to spread false and malicious lies, in furtherance of a shakedown. We demand that you issue an immediate public retraction and apologize to Mr. Cohen.”

McSweeney’s attorney, Sarah M. Matz, of Adelman Matz P.C., responded to Cohen’s letter with the following statement: “That Andy Cohen had his counsel and PR agents write a threatening letter to give to the press is hardly surprising. Mr. Cohen is accustomed to using his power in the media to scare and intimidate people like Ms. McSweeney so that they will not speak out. Mr. Cohen’s attempt to discredit and intimidate Ms. McSweeney to deter her from engaging in legally protected activity in Court is exactly the type of retaliation that this lawsuit was brought to address and only is further evidence for Ms. McSweeney. We do not intend to litigate this matter in the press, and if Mr. Cohen wants to address Ms. McSweeney’s claims, we suggest he do so in Court, not in a letter for the press.”

This is the first legal response from Cohen after the release of several letters and lawsuits lobbied against Bravo, various production companies behind these series — as well as current “Vanderpump Rules” reality stars Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval. Cohen publicly apologized to former “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Brandi Glanville after her legal representation released a letter accusing the executive producer of sexually harassing her.

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