Caroline Manzo has sued Bravo, alleging she was sexually abused and harassed by Brandi Glanville during the upcoming season of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in New York’s state Supreme Court, Manzo claims Glanville forcibly kissed her during filming and “groped, grabbed, and forcibly fondled [her] vagina and breasts.” She alleges producers were “listening to the interaction on audio” but “never opened the door or took any other action to intervene and stop the sexual assault.”
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According to the complaint, Manzo, who was sexually assaulted at age 7, says she stated after the altercation, “I got abused,” and shared the details of the alleged assault with her husband, children and two production heads the following morning.
Bravo Media, Forest Productions, Warner Bros. Entertainment, NBCUniversal Media, Shed Media and Peacock are named as defendants in the complaint. Glanville was not sued, though she is described as an employee of the defendants.
“Defendants had overwhelming prior notice of Ms. Glanville’s prior deviant sexual proclivities and sexually harassing conduct,” the suit stated. “However, despite this knowledge, Defendants wrongfully continued to hire Glanville for their shows. Defendants allowed, condoned and even encouraged Ms. Glanvile’s sexually aggressive and offensive conduct on others on the sets.”
The complaint claims that producers behind the reality series, including Bravo, “regularly ply the Real Housewives cast with alcohol, cause them to become severely intoxicated, and then direct, encourage and/or allow them to sexually harass other cast members because that is good for ratings.”
The lawsuit aims to “discourage Defendants from continuing to sacrifice their cast members’ safety for their own ratings and profits.”
Though the season has yet to air, information around the accusation leaked in the media when both Manzo and Glanville reportedly left filming early in January 2023, with Peacock launching an investigation into Manzo’s allegations. After Manzo spoke out, calling the incident “traumatic,” Glanville took to Twitter to defend herself, claiming it was a “fucking set up.”
At the time, Peacock and producers Shed Media said in a statement, “The safety and security of cast and crew while shooting is extremely important and we take all reports seriously. In this situation, production immediately launched a comprehensive review and is taking appropriate action.”
Peacock declined to comment; THR has gone out to Bravo for comment. No premiere date has been set, while the show’s status remains unclear.
“We believe this case is about the network’s selfishly sacrificing the wellbeing of their talent for ratings and profit,” said Derek T. Smith, the attorney for Manzo, to THR. “Brandi Glanville stated she was simply doing what the producers told her to do. Reality TV is leading to severe emotional and physical harm of its talent. This must stop.”
Some of Glanville’s other prior tweets are also quoted in the lawsuit. Among them, the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star is quoted as writing, “Producers may not shove the alcohol down our throats, but they sure do encourage it even in Morocco during the day where it’s illegal to drink.” Citing a different incident, she added, “They had pretty sure told me to rip his shirt off … I was doing what I was told.”
Manzo is an original castmember from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, which premiered in 2009. She left the series after its fifth season in 2014.
Glanville was a castmember on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills from seasons two through five, making guest appearances in seasons six, nine and 10. She was also a castmember on season two of The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, which filmed in Berkshires, Massachusetts.
Manzo’s lawsuit comes as the unscripted genre grapples with labor issues and NDAs following Hollywood’s dual 2023 writers and actors strikes and calls for reality TV stars to unionize, focusing on better compensation and working conditions on reality series.
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