The day after Bravo announced it was firing four cast members — Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens, and Brett Caprioni — from its show “Vanderpump Rules” for their past racist actions, Lisa Vanderpump and Andy Cohen have separately spoken out about the firings — sort of.
Cohen — the host of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” and an executive producer on the “Real Housewives” shows — was more direct than Vanderpump. “So much talk about ‘Vanderpump Rules,’ and then of course, the reunion wound up airing last night,” Cohen said on his SiriusXM program “Andy Cohen Live” on Wednesday. “I absolutely support Bravo’s decision. I think it was the right decision.”
He then made it as clear as possible that he has nothing to do with the show creatively. “I feel like I remind people of this all the time: I’m not in charge of programming at Bravo anymore; I am not an executive producer of ‘Vanderpump Rules,’ Cohen said. “I don’t have anything to do with the show except I love it, and that I host the reunions.”
“I don’t produce the shows,” Cohen said again. “So what I want people to know is I have no say in hiring and firing people.”
Vanderpump — whose restaurants are at the center of “Vanderpump Rules,” and who is the reason the show exists — spoke obliquely about the firings in a statement posted to her social media. “Over the past two weeks, many things have been brought to my attention, of which I and many others were previously unaware,” the statemet began. “It was necessary for me to be quiet until now, until decisions had been made. Now I can freely speak from the heart.” (Full statement below.)
Vanderpump mentioned no names in her statement, and wrote in the passive voice: “I love and adore our employees and I am deeply saddened by some of the lack of judgment that has been displayed.” She said she condemns “all forms of cruelty, racism, homophobia, bigotry and unequal treatment,” and that those things aren’t tolerated in her workplaces, which are “very diverse.” (“Vanderpump Rules” has always had a nearly all-white cast over its eight seasons).
Last week, former “Vanderpump Rules” cast member Faith Stowers revealed that two Schroeder and Doute had reported her to the police for a crime she’d had nothing to do with in 2018. After her comments went viral, Bravo announced it was cutting ties with them, as well as with Boyens and Caprioni, whose past racist tweets were uncovered after the most recent season premiered in January.
Vanderpump did not address any specifics in her statement, nor did she offer an apology to Stowers. In Part 1 of the “Vanderpump Rules” reunion last week, after Cohen offered Boyens and Caprioni the floor to apologize for their past tweets, Vanderpump had said with a laugh, “If I fired every one of you that have made mistakes, it doesn’t matter to what degree, probably none of you would have a job.”
The firings of Schroeder and Doute, both of whom were in the show’s original cast when “Vanderpump Rules” premiered in 2013, reverberated throughout social media on Tuesday. Schroeder’s agency and publicist had dropped her the day before; Doute’s literary agency has also cut ties with her. Additionally, Schroeder’s podcast has been deplatformed from Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify. (Representatives from those companies did not respond to a request for comment. But Brice Sander from Entertainment Tonight pointed out on Twitter that Schroeder’s podcast network Radio.com has removed “Straight Up With Stassi” from its porfolio.)
After the firings became public, fans also wondered whether Jax Taylor, who had also accused Stowers of crimes in a tweet, might be next. Bravo would not comment on that question.
On Wednesday, TMZ reported that Pump — one of Vanderpump’s restaurants on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood — has been tagged by graffiti messages that read, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”
Update: TMZ didn’t realize that Vanderpump’s businesses had boarded up when the protests began early this month, and the graffiti is by the restaurants’ staff.
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Over the past two weeks, many things have been brought to my attention, of which I and many others were previously unaware. It was necessary for me to be quiet until now, until decisions had been made. Now I can freely speak from the heart. As we’ve seen such devastating sadness that has played out globally, we all have a part to play to create a kinder, more just society. My hope is for this generation to treat each other with respect and humanity, and realize that actions have; and should have, consequences. I love and adore our employees and I am deeply saddened by some of the lack of judgment that has been displayed. As many of you know, after watching me for 10 years, I have always been an equal rights activist and ally – my family, my businesses and I condemn all forms of cruelty, racism, homophobia, bigotry and unequal treatment. We’ve never tolerated it in the workplace or our lives. While you only see a fraction of our employees on the show, a specific friend group, across all of our companies, we have always been a very diverse group of people – every color, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Most of our employees have worked for us for over a decade, and we have become a family; one that embraces and celebrates each other’s differences. I am proud of the inclusive company that we’ve created. We will continue to embrace diversity as one of our greatest strengths, and I’m excited to give you deeper look into the multi-faceted fabric of our company in the future. The world needs to move forward with a kinder generation. Everybody deserves to feel safe, heard and appreciated in their communities. So much of what has transpired in the world is not right, fair or acceptable. We all have work to do to create a society we can be proud of and I hope as we venture forward, we strive to live in a world where kindness and compassion are our highest values. Thank you for listening, love Lisa
Elizabeth Wagmeister contributed to this report.