Leah McSweeney is “looking forward” to suing Bravo following her discrimination complaint against the network.

The former The Real Housewives of New York City star filed the complaint on March 10, 2023, claiming Bravo had violated the Americans With Disabilities Act while filming The Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip season 3. But what happened to make Leah sue the network?

Who Is Leah McSweeney?

Leah’s biography for RHONY describes her as a “streetwear pioneer, female entrepreneur and cultural provocateur.” In 2004, Leah launched Married to the Mob, which is referred to as “one of the first streetwear brands for women, by women.” In the fall of 2020, Leah launched her second brand, Happy Place, which sells sustainable sleepwear.

why is rhonys leah mcsweeney suing bravo lawsuit updates
Jamie McCarthy / Staff

The mother-of-one’s bio calls her an “advocate for female empowerment, street culture, and creative entrepreneurship,” and says she “leans into lifestyle topics like health, fitness, and mental health awareness.”

The designer revealed in March 2022 she had officially converted to Judaism, a change she described on an episode of RHONY as a “deep calling” tied to her decision to quit drinking alcohol during the Covid pandemic.

In addition to being a cast member on RHONY, Leah has also appeared on the Peacock spinoff The Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip.

Why Did Leah McSweeney File a Complaint Against Bravo?

Leah filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision against Bravo after filming The Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip season 3 in early 2023, according to a March 10 filing. The reality star and her lawyers cited an alleged violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability, according to Vanity Fair.

Leah described her tumultuous time on the franchise, including relapsing after 9 years of sobriety from alcohol six months before season 12 of RHONY began filming and missing her grandmother’s death during a cast trip to the Hamptons.

She said she did not receive support from the network during these difficult times in her life, telling Vanity Fair, “It hurt so bad that I was not able to grieve. That I had people not showing me any kind of compassion or humanity regarding it.”

why is rhonys leah mcsweeney suing bravo lawsuit updates
Gotham / Contributor

The loss of her grandmother led to a major depressive episode, which sent Leah to a psychiatric hospital for eight days for treatment.

After Shed Media’s senior vice president of programming and development, Lisa Shannon, allegedly told her that viewers “didn’t like” her because “there was such a stark difference between [her] when [she was] drinking versus this season,” Leah quit RHONY. However, she agreed to participate on The Real Housewives: Ultimate Girls Trip because she was offered $250,000 for only a week of filming.

While working on the spinoff, Leah said fellow cast members pressured her to drink alcohol despite her history of substance abuse.

How Did Bravo Respond to Leah’s Discrimination Claims?

On May 15, 2023, Christie Del Rey-Cone, an attorney representing all respondents, denied the claims, according to Vanity Fair. The response stated that Leah’s disabilities were allowed for, and that she was not retaliated against. The response said that in fact, “production spent endless amounts of time accommodating [Leah] and only internally expressed frustration with the fact that she was knowingly misrepresenting what had transpired.”

The attorney added, “[Leah] herself spent much of RHONY Season 12”—the season of her relapse—“discussing (and sometimes even mocking) the alleged disabilities that are now the subject of the instant Complaints” and stated, “[Leah’s] need for affirmation was never-ending but that need was completely separate from any alleged disability.”

why is rhonys leah mcsweeney suing bravo lawsuit updates
Hippolyte Petit / Stringer

Though the response references several instances of support for Leah, the reality star maintains they were either later taken back, or not given in earnest.

Following the publication of the Vanity Fair exposé, Leah told Page Six that Bravo PR “worked overtime to hide the truth.”

What Has Leah Said About Suing Bravo?

On November 1, 2023, Leah posted a photo of herself to Instagram with the caption, “In my healing, in love, unbreakable, unshakable, shame-free, lawyered up, sober AF, bad ass vulnerable bitch era.” A fan commented on the photo, “Miss you on RHONY. Read Vanity Fair. I wish you $$$ in lawsuit. You deserved better by antagonist @bravotv producers,” to which Leah responded with confirmation she will be suing the network.

The TV personality replied, “thank u appreciate you. I’m very much looking forward to depositions :).”

A source told Page Six Leah plans to go “all the way” with the network, and reportedly will refuse any settlement offers.


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