Real Housewives of Atlanta alum NeNe Leakes took to Twitter Monday morning (Dec 21) to call for a boycott against the Bravo network. The former star of the franchise’s most popular installment opted out of its 13th season after months of contract negotiations went awry.
Not even a full day after the latest RHOA episode aired, Leakes publicly tweeted, “Y’all ready to start this boycott yet? What has happened behind the scenes is WRONG! While others were being promoted, BLACK WOMEN who created shows, created genres, built franchise [sic] and built networks were being DEMOTED…TURN OFF YOUR TV’S…”
Shortly after that initial post, she doubled down on her rigid directive: “Sign the petitions when you see them, repost the boycott flyers when you see them, turn off your TVs.”
The mention of “demotion” is interesting as Leakes has never personally addressed rumors that she was fired from the show or had her role reduced. In June, while negotiations were still in play, the reality star’s manager, Steven Grossman, told People that they were “having ongoing bigger picture conversations with NBC Universal,” hinting that perhaps a spin-off could be in the works for her.
He also denounced any rumors that she may have been ejected from the RHOA cast.
“It was made abundantly clear prior that she will always be welcome on the series as long as she wants to be,” he said in the summer.
But when it actually became abundantly clear that she would not be returning, Leakes cried in an interview with Tamron Hall while talking about being mistreated by the network.
“I can’t tell you everything that I want from them but I can tell you that I want fair treatment. I deserve fair treatment,” she said in October. “I haven’t done anything that no one else has done there, or haven’t done even worse….so, I don’t deserve this treatment. I’m as confused as you are.”
This most recent call-out of Bravo should come as no surprise to followers of the show. For years, though periodically, Leakes has voiced her dissatisfaction with her role on the series. She’s openly claimed discrimination as it relates to Black stars of the regional franchise, who’ve built the foundation for the show’s success and rarely get contracts for spin-offs. With that being said though, Leakes and a few of her co-stars actually have signed off on spin-offs, even if most were short-lived.
Kandi Burruss-Tucker has had several spin-offs (Kandi Factory, Xscape: Still Kickin’ It, Kandi’s Ski Trip] and a special that documented her nuptials (Kandi’s Wedding). Porsha Williams starred in a three-part spin-off that followed her pregnancy (Porsha’s Having a Baby). Even Leakes had a special in 2013: I Dream of Nene: The Wedding. Interesting enough though, Kim Zolciak Biermann’s Don’t Be Tardy series has run for eight seasons.
Season 13 marks the first time Leakes has left the show since stepping away for Seasons 8 and 9 to focus on her acting career.
Either way this potential boycott ends up, Leakes has her own supporters holding the line on her behalf. Even before the star’s recent Twitter demands, a fan tweeted on Thursday (Dec 17), “Sis you ran so these girls could walk through always remember….you were the first… you made it happen for the young girls we see now. They should bow down graciously.”