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NeNe Leakes X Kim Zolciak-Biermann lawsuit drama explained as RHOA fans are left divided

Nene Leakes' lawsuit and relationship with Kim Zolciak-Biermann explained (Image via Paras Griffin/WireImage)
Nene Leakes' lawsuit and relationship with Kim Zolciak-Biermann explained (Image via Paras Griffin/WireImage)

Former star of the reality show Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA), Nene Leakes, has filed a lawsuit claiming its production companies, alleging that they fostered and tolerated a hostile and racist work environment.

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday in an Atlanta federal court and was reported by the Associated Press. The complaint alleges that Leakes, for years, complained about receiving racist remarks from fellow housewife Kim Zolciak-Biermann, who is white. However, the lawsuit contends that it was only Leakes who suffered the consequences.

Defendants in the lawsuit include NBCUniversal, Bravo, production companies True Entertainment and Truly Original, executives from those companies, and executive producer of the "Housewives" franchise Andy Cohen. However, it does not mention Zolciak-Biermann.


What does NeNe Leakes' lawsuit say?

Leakes, the 54-year-old TV personality and actor whose legal name is Linnethia Monique Leakes, spent seven seasons as one of the central and distinguished stars of The Real Housewives of Atlanta between 2008 and 2020.

The lawsuit, filed by Nene Leakes, laid down the following points, detailing what transpired between her and her fellow co-star, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

1) It alleges that during the first season of RHOA, the cast was planning to attend a barbeque, where housewife Kim Zolciak-Biermann said she didn't want to be present at the same and responded to the idea with “words to the effect of: ‘I don’t want to sit around with NeNe and eat chicken.'” The suit states that the statement “perpetuated an offensive stereotype about African-Americans.”

2) The suit alleges that during the fifth season, Zolciak-Biermann made “racially offensive and stereotypical” comments about Kandi Burruss' new house, calling the neighborhood “ghetto,” all while perpetuating a racial stereotype in an insensitive comment about whether Burruss needed a swimming pool.

3) It alleges that the same year, Zolciak-Biermann used the N-word to refer to Leakes and other housewives on the show after a brief dispute with them. It also alleges that Zolciak-Biermann made a false implication that Leakes used drugs and called her home a "roach nest."

The suit alleges that even after complaining to the executives of the show about Zolciak-Biermann's behavior, they “did not terminate their relationship with Zolciak-Biermann, nor take any other meaningful action to put an end to her racially-offensive behavior."

In a statement reportedly issued by Leakes’ lawyer David deRubertis, he said:

“From the day the series began filming, NeNe was the target of systemic racism from co-star Kim Zolciak-Biermann, which was tolerated by Bravo executive producer Andy Cohen and other executives."

The lawsuit also alleges that Leakes' complaints of racism led in part to her being forced off the show in 2020 before its 13th season. It also says Leakes’ negotiations came as the Black Lives Matter movement was gaining major momentum, with her being a vocal supported of the same.


RHOA fans are divided over the lawsuit

RHOA fans took to social media to express their opinions. While some supported Leakes and her lawsuit, others sided with fellow housewife Zolciak-Biermann.

How people are responding to this Nene situation just proves to the point of how black women are not protected. #NeneLeakes Y’all sitting up here defending a company known for racism in the past.
#BreakingNews #NeNeLeakes filed a lawsuit against #Bravo, Andy Cohen, and NBCUniversal. Working in a racist and hostile environment can be very damaging to mental health.
Please bring back @NeNeLeakes to #RHOA. Or maybe it should be, please Nene come back 🙏🏿🙏🏿😭😭. She's living her best life and I want to see it in full HD. @BravoTV @peacockTV #neneleakes #nene
@caliphorniaqing The downfall of Kim Zolciak-Bierman will be a sight to see. I almost hope Bravo cameras are rolling when Amex comes to collect their money.
Using Kim Zolciak as the architecture for her racism suit against Bravo is honestly brilliant. I did not see this coming. I don’t know how this is going to go for Bravo. Because she’s not wrong as far as Zolciak not being held accountable and in fact being rewarded for her racism twitter.com/thr/status/151… https://t.co/EEV5KJAQ8A
I can see if Nene did 2-3 seasons and then filed the lawsuit. Girl you did 7 straight seasons, took a break, and then CAME BACK and did 3 more seasons. It’s giving disgruntled ex employee and it’s not a good look 🤷🏽‍♂️. #rhoa #neneleakes
@RankedReal This lawsuit is a joke and Nene is delusional. That’s why she was fired. Bc her ego is out of control & she thinks she’s the Queen. Not bc she complained about Kim Zolciak-Biermann.
Remember when Nene Leakes went around saying she wanted Kim Zolciak to come back to #rhoa so that she’d have another ally against Kenya and Kandi after season 12? Why would you advocate for someone you claim is racist to come back to a show? https://t.co/HZJ1mzt33B
I think @Kimzolciak should sue @NeNeLeakes for these allegations. Give me a break Nene would be nothing without Bravo. She’s be the same toothless, house renting, French acrylic nail wearing dummy. #bravo #andycohen #RHOA
@lovebscott You’re kidding me with this right ? Kim Zolciak was basically bullied and attacked every episode for years ! But that was all OK ? #smdh

NeNe Leakes X Kim Zolciak-Biermann feud timeline explored

Nene and Kim's relationship on RHOA has seen its ups and downs. While the duo started the show closer than ever, their friendship took a hit after NeNe started questioning Kim’s relationship with her then-boyfriend and already married Lee "Big Poppa" Najjar. They went head-to-head on this issue during Season 1 reunion.

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Things got physical during Season 3 of the series after NeNe accused Kim of mistreating her assistant, Sweetie. While Nene confessed that she regretted their feud during their joint appearance on Watch What Happens Live (WWHL) with Andy Cohen, they had a disagreement when Kim returned for Season 10 after her daughter, Brielle Biermann, filmed videos allegedly showing cockroaches in NeNe’s home.

After Nene and others accused fellow housewives Kim and Brielle of being racist at the season 10 reunion, Kim claimed that she would never return to the series.

Both stars seemed to have left their past behind in 2020 when they decided to join forces for a new Instagram Live show called Cocktails After Dark, which launched on April 3 of the same year.

Speaking about the duo's relationship at the beginning of their show, Nene said, referring to her late husband Gregg Leakes' health issues and Kim's son being attacked by a dog:

“Before we get started, a lot of you guys have been asking ‘how did you and Kim get back together?’ And I wanted to wait for you to get here, Kim, to explain. As most of you guys know, my husband was diagnosed with cancer, and for me — I just realized life is too short. Kim’s son had an accident and I just felt like we should move on."

Agreeing with what her fellow co-star said, Kim explained:

“I agree, between Kash being bit by a dog, Gregg being sick — life is too short, and life can just change in an instant and it just wasn’t really worth hanging onto that anger or irritation."

Reportedly, the suit also alleges that the defendants’ actions violate federal employment and anti-discrimination laws, and it seeks monetary damages to be determined at trial. The suit says:

"NBC, Bravo and True foster a corporate and workplace culture in which racially-insensitive and inappropriate behavior is tolerated — if not, encouraged."

As per The Hollywood Reporter, emails sent to representatives of the defendants and Zolciak-Biermann seeking comment were not immediately returned.

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Edited by Suchitra
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