Dear Gossips, 

Three weeks ago, lawyers representing dozens of reality show stars sent a letter to NBCUniversal accusing the network of “grotesque and depraved treatment”. It is widely believed that most of these stars are from the Real Housewives and Vanderpump franchises. The initiative is led by Bethenny Frankel who’s has been the most vocal in challenging the reality programming structure that is unprotected by union standards, exposing the stars of these series to alleged unlimited exploitation by the studios. 


It's now being reported that a follow-up letter was sent to NBCUniversal this past weekend. You can read it here. They are asking to be released from the NDAs that they were all compelled to sign. Per the letter: 

“NBCUniversal has represented to the public that it requires its third-party production partners to comply with its own policies in an effort to stop harassment, discrimination, and other illegal conduct. Yet, for obvious reasons, it has turned a blind eye as these production partners enforce illegal nondisclosure agreements to hide civil and criminal wrongs. Your collective failure to comply with the law has caused hundreds or thousands of people to stay silent about unlawful workplace conduct they have witnessed or experienced, which has included: racism; sexism; sexual violence; revenge porn; child labor; forced intoxication; and psychological, emotional, and physical abuse. This culture of fear and silence is no doubt responsible, in part, for the disproportionate rate of suicide among reality tv participants.”


Silence is often a corporate weapon. Silence only benefits those in power. And it’s not just in entertainment – across most industries, silence is imposed for the protection of the management. At the most basic level, this is how they guard against their own financial risk. How many times have we all been advised not to talk money matters with our colleagues. Don’t share your salary, don’t talk about your bonuses, this won’t be good for you. Other people will resent you. Will they resent you, though? Or will they just ask for more – not from you, but from THEM. 

As we have covered, multiple times on this site, over the last couple of decades, the studios have increasingly turned to unscripted programming as a cheaper alternative to scripted content. With both the writers and actors on strike now though, many reality show participants are questioning their own relationships with the networks and coming to realise their own value. 


The WGA and SAG-AFTRA meanwhile remain in solidarity. A joint rally is being planned today. The “National Day of Solidarity” rally will take place at 10am PT this morning outside Disney Studios. 

“SAG-AFTRA and WGA will join forces with the AFL-CIO and its affiliates from across the nation and across industries for a National Day of Solidarity,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement. “In this ‘Summer of Strikes,’ working Americans everywhere are fighting for fair contracts, better compensation, safe working conditions and protections from encroaching technology. Together, we are showing corporate America that when we fight, we win!”

A West Wing reunion is expected at the rally as it’s been announced that Allison Janney, Dulé Hill, Bradley Whitford, Josh Malina, Richard Schiff, Melissa Fitzgerald, Mary McCormack, and Kathleen York will be joining Aaron Sorkin on the picket line. 

Attached - Vanderpump Rules stars Ariana Madix and Katie Maloney filming in LA on the weekend. 

Yours in gossip,