It is no secret that Reality TV shows remain on the air based on how many catfights and punches they can jam into the season. Watching grown women tear each other’s hair out while bottles of wine fly through the air sounds like a crazy scenario but not when you subscribe to the offerings from VH1 or Bravo.
Recently Geneva Thomas and Melyssa Ford made headlines for a nasty brawl that took place while filming Blood, Sweat and Heels in NYC. Things got so bad that Ford was rushed to the hospital afterwards and Thomas is allegedly suing her cast mate in retaliation.
Other shows on Bravo have also played host to some intensely scandalous fights that have escalated into physical fits of rage – Married to Medicine, The New Atlanta and mainstay, Real Housewives of Atlanta are known for periodic knock outs.
As much as viewers voice their dismay at the growing violence depicted on these shows, the ratings prove that more of us are entertained than disgusted.
But Ariana Hatch, Managing Director of Campaigns at ColorOfChange.org, refuses to allow the madness to continue and is requesting that Bravo refrain from exploiting black women for financial gain.
Hatch released a statement and in it she accused TV producers and Real Housewives mascot, Andy Cohen of creating “hostile environments” that reek of stereotypical fare for the purpose of enticing cast members to bicker and brawl at the expense of their self-respect. She warned that these enhanced situations are damaging to the plight of black women who are already subjected to careless generalizations that are made valid by the kinds of shows that Bravo produces in great supply.
“Violence involving Black cast members has become a reliable ratings boost for Bravo. Prior to last season’s reunion show altercation, major brawls on shows like The New Atlanta and Married to Medicine were aired with much fanfare, hyped up as must-see television events.
“Bravo is not at the mercy of the behavior of the casts of its shows. Reality TV producers routinely utilize staged, hostile environments and specific editing strategies to conjure the story they wish to tell. We demand Bravo and Andy Cohen turn away from these stereotypical narratives, and stop profiting from violence involving Black people.
“Judging by recent reports of yet another massive brawl during taping for the upcoming season of Bravo’s Blood, Sweat, and Heels, it seems there’s no end in sight for Bravo’s reliance on dangerous stereotypes. During that fight, between Black castmates Geneva Thomas and Melyssa Ford, a bottle was reportedly smashed over Ford’s head, sending her to the hospital. Thomas has since been arrested. Under no circumstances should Bravo air this or any other fights involving Black people.
“Stereotypical portrayals of Black people — as angry, belligerent, and violent — are dangerous, shaping negative perceptions in the minds of viewers that, when acted upon, can mean real life harm for Black communities; discriminatory hiring practices, less attention from doctors, and harsher treatment by law enforcement, just to name a few. Bravo and Andy Cohen must move beyond these harmful, one-dimensional portrayals.”
So far, no response from Bravo but it is hard to pick a side with this one. There are other reality shows that don’t feature black women that are just as raunchy and salacious. The world of Reality TV is not a forgiving one and it certainly isn’t for the meek. It is safe to say that the women who dare to go there, are pretty aware of what they are getting into. It is not progressive programming but very few shows are these days. If you can’t take the heat – then you might want to exit the kitchen.