Bravo TV has reportedly become one of the most watched reality show networks. Its most popular hit is the Real Housewives franchise. Filled with glamour, beauty, and elaborate lifestyles, Bravo TV attracts every walk of life to tune in. However, what has become alarming to many fans is the increasing amount of physical violence and corruption on and off camera between the reality stars. When MTV back in 1992 launched the first reality show Real World showcasing young adults rooming together in a new city trying to build a life, the intention possibly was to simply show real people, not actors, becoming independent adults. Many wonder if Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, creators of the Real World, intended for this concept of real people being followed by cameras to demonstrate adults resolving issues with violence.
As hot as the shows on Bravo TV have become in millions of households, much of the public is raising an eyebrow as to why the severity of the violence and corruption has possibly been exploited in the name of entertainment. The infamous episode on the Real Housewives of Atlanta that caused many fans to no longer watch the program involved ex-con and husband to cast member Phaedra Parks, Apollo Nida, brutally attacking a recurring guest on the show Brandon Deshazer resulting in Deshazer’s ribs allegedly being cracked. It was clear from the episode that Nida came out of nowhere and blindsided Deshazer. As the production crew tried to break up the brawl, it was evident to some viewers watching that Nida was a violent force that could not be controlled. Soon after the airing of the assault onto Deshazer, news hit the airwaves and social media that Nida was being investigated by the FBI for alleged identity theft, bank fraud, stolen retirement checks and unclaimed money. Nida (served time in federal prison from 2004 to 2009 for fraud and theft) and his wife Parks, who has been suspected of being the alleged mastermind behind Nida’s illegal operations, tried to convince the other cast mates as well as viewers that the beating of Deshazer was justified. Many believe Parks, a skilled entertainment attorney, tried convincing viewers that what they actually saw with their own eyes wasn’t what they saw. Much of the public began to question the husband and wife team and wonder why Nida wasn’t arrested and kicked off the show for the vicious attack on Deshazer.
Social media started buzzing last week as TMZ reported yet another brawl that allegedly occurred during the taping of the Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion ending the drama packed sixth season. Cast mate Porsha Williams was reported to have physically attacked former Miss USA cast member Kenya Moore. Reportedly a 911 call was made from the production set from Moore stating that Williams physically attacked her. Cast mate NeNe Leakes, according to TMZ, stated Moore needed to be kicked off the show and Williams should be allowed to stay with Bravo TV. It is no secret that the other cast mates have had personality issues with the beauty queen as well as with each other. Fans are wondering why Leakes is allegedly applauding Williams for behavior resembling that of an inmate instead of a successful, public figure. It became clear to many why Leakes would possibly want Williams rewarded for violent behavior. Recently Leake’s criminal history was revealed by talk show Wendy Williams for robbery, theft, and probation violation. The question that is looming over the heads of many Bravo TV fans is what is Bravo TV going to do about the increasing support of violence on their network?
While the reality stars of Bravo TV impress fans with their glitzy lifestyles, high-end designer wardrobes, lavish homes, successful careers, and exciting social lives, what does it all mean at the end of the day when fans are exposed to brutal beatings and attacks and fraud by some of the reality stars they once held in a different light? Andy Cohen, executive vice president of development and talent, is a creative genius, respected, and loved by millions. Cohen is seen on the reality show reunions as the mediator who tries to get questions answered and some degree of understanding to their issues.
Though Phaedra Parks is a cast member of Real Housewives of Atlanta and husband Nida is not, it could be contractual reasons why Nida has not been kicked off the reality show while he awaits his trial date in April 2014. Williams, however, is a cast member of the popular show. Women want their daughters exposed to success driven female public figures, but assault and battery is not the representation Mothers want projected onto their daughters. Whether Williams is to be fired by Bravo TV for her alleged violent assault onto a cast mate is still unknown. Bravo TV was once known for successful innovated programming with reality stars that represented class and style. At the conception of the hit Bravo TV network, fans want to believe the network did not want its brand associated with rib cracking, hair pulling, assault and battery. Fans that applaud and tune into reality television for violence are hitting social media in support of Williams remaining with Bravo TV in hopes of more violent outbursts. Those who do not believe violence is the key to resolving issues, believe Williams, if she did the crime, needs to suffer the consequences of her own actions. Because in the actual “real” world, Williams would have been arrested and fired for violence on a job. But then again…this is reality television. Where will Bravo TV draw the line? And, more importantly, when?
Opinion by Meleika Gardner