When Bravo began introducing us to supposedly normal people that had signed up to present their lives on TV, we were excited. We were thrilled that we could see lifestyles and homes purportedly not in our realm of average lives.
It started off good, if not great. One just has to look at the clothing on the first season of Real Housewives of Orange County promotional picture, to see Bravo has drastically changed how they are presenting these women.
We met Housewives from Orange County, New York, Atlanta and New Jersey.
Everyone was under the same assumption, these people had signed up to show us their lives therefore giving us every right to express our opinions.
Do not get me wrong, we had moments of Jill Zarin trying to manufacture perceptions to make her appear more liked and popular but even in her darkest moments, she was not lashing out insulting fans in an uncouth manner.
Then the landscape changed. I believe it transformed with the addition of Melissa Gorga to the New Jersey franchise. For the first time, fans were attacked by an actual cast member’s friends and family for their opinions with the actual cast member’s blessing. Melissa’s first season, her two sisters were like rabid dogs on anyone that dared hint at a negative about Melissa. It was perplexing to fans, we couldn’t fathom they believed everyone would love Melissa but it appeared that was exactly the case.
This behavior opened flood gates of epic proportions. Lines were drawn in the sand over which housewife one supported or opposed, at the very same time lines were blurred on what was actually acceptable to be said to and about others. It went from opinions about behavior in a certain scene in a specific episode to vile and trashy personal attacks.
Fans were attacked and called names and insulted. Bloggers became fair game. (Ode to Roxanne of AllAboutTRH on Thanksgiving Day 2011 Click here if you need a refresher.) As you can see words like skank were introduced into the Real Housewife tapestry woven between actual cast members, bloggers and fans. As were, threats of outing personal information on Twitter.
Once again, the NJ cast lowered themselves to a new level by replying to tweets from fans with nasty insults. Despite trying to sell their products and books, to this day, the NJ franchise remain the undisputed champs as the most insulting and condescending to their fans.
I must point out, that Teresa Guidice is the only one of this cast that remained above the fray and never entered into Twitter battles and arguments. Bravo, Teresa! Some would allege, Teresa did not need to do so because her fanatical fans did it for her. Other Jersey cast have tweeted that Teresa pays her fans to fight her battles or referred to her as a puppeteer of her fans. There is no evidence of any of these things actually occurring, but once again shows the atrocity of this cast.
Enter the New York franchise and the infamous Scary Island episode, where Kelly Bensimon seemingly lost her marbles and afterwards came at the rest of the cast with her “bully” accusations. Fans were left scratching their heads because we did not see Kelly being bullied, but this did not deter Bensimon from standing steadfast in her belief she was indeed bullied.
The vitriol behavior has escalated on every level between every component, cast-mates against cast-mates, bloggers against bloggers and fans against fans and every combination in between.
The latest ‘bullying’ controversy has been in Orange County and everyone has an opinion, Alexis Bellino shared it like this in her latest blog.
I want to leave everyone with this thought: I think the main issue that I have with the women has gotten a bit confused. For me, it’s not about whether or not I should be allowed to use the word “bullying.” Call it gang up, three-on-one, picking on, unnecessary cruel treatment. . .choose any. Do I think it fits into the broader definition of the word? Yes. However, I think the girls are making this a matter of semantics, to deflect from the heart of the issue, which is why they’ve been so hostile towards me for the last two seasons. If the use of the word “bully” is the only issue they have with me, I will never use that word again. There are many other words to describe how I felt. All I want is a little accountability for the antagonism they have had toward me. I don’t think Tamra, Heather or Gretchen would allow or want their own daughters to receive the treatment I have received from them. As they’ve each said many times we are adults, not children — shouldn’t we be acting better toward each other than this?
Heather Dubrow has com out in her blog accusing fans of cyber-bullying.
What I find so ironic is that the haters that find their way to the cast members social media are nothing more than cyber bullies. And yes, that is bullying. . .and cowardly. To hide behind a computer and an anonymous persona to spew hate at another person is despicable. I don’t care who is your least favorite out of the bunch. Tamra, Lydia, Alexis, Gretchen, Vicki and myself are all human beings with real lives and real families. You are all absolutely entitled to your opinions, and we are all happy to hear them — good or bad. Please be passionate, engage with us, give us your take on what happened — it’s part of our job. However, when I look at some of the comments on everyone’s blogs and there is such venom about our looks, families, and sometimes our religious beliefs I am in shock. That will receive the ultimate karma hit.
The biggest jaw dropper of this entire situation is now former Real Housewife of Atlanta, Sheree Whitfield. Whitfield has filed numerous restraining orders against Funky Dineva, straightfromthea.com and Tamara Tattles, forcing them to make repeated court appearances wasting the court’s time and resources. Whitfield’s case is founded on magic mirrors and untruths but that is not stopping her from trying to get these web journalist legally unable to write about her. For the latest update on that situation click here.
Frankly, this latest case should be cause for concern for every blogger. I applaud all three for going to bat for all journalist.
It is astonishing to see how Bravo’s Real Housewives and the people Bravo has chosen to be on these shows, have changed the entire landscape of social media or do we all share culpability as we have buckled up and watched a downward spiral on human decency and lowered standards of how to treat others?