Leah McSweeney sues Andy Cohen, Real Housewives producers

Leah McSweeney is taking legal action credit:Bang Showbiz
Leah McSweeney is taking legal action credit:Bang Showbiz

Leah McSweeney is suing Andy Cohen and the companies behind 'Real Housewives' over a "rotted" workplace culture that "thrives off drug and alcohol abuse".

The former 'Real Housewives of New York City' star has filed a civil suit against the 'Watch What Happens Live' host - who is executive producer of the franchise - Bravo Media, NBC Universal Media, Warner Bros. Discovery, Shed Media US and producers John Paparazzo, Lisa Shannon and Darren Ward, and alleged employees were pressured to drink alcohol, with the companies accused of having failed to maintain a safe working environment or accommodate her "alcohol use disorder" and "mental health disorders".

In her 109-page filing, Leah - who broke nine years of sobriety but was back on the wagon by the time filming for season 12 began in 2019 - claimed she had told producers that she suffered from alcohol use disorder but they discriminated against her by "intentionally planning scenarios intended to exacerbate [her] disabilities," all in efforts to "create morbidly salacious reality television."

She wrote: "Defendants with the knowledge that Ms. McSweeney struggled with alcohol use disorder, colluded with her colleagues to pressure Ms. McSweeney to drink, retaliated against her when she wanted to stay sober, and intentionally failed to provide reasonable accommodations that would aid her efforts to stay sober and able to perform.”

In a later section, the reality star alleged Andy "engages in cocaine use with Housewives and other 'Bravolebrities' that he employs," and has a "proclivity for cocaine usage with his employees."

She added: "Cohen tends to provide the Housewives with whom he uses cocaine with more favourable treatment and edits.

"Cohen intentionally uses cocaine with his employees to further promote a workplace culture that thrives off drug and alcohol abuse, which leads to a failure to accommodate employees who are disabled and attempting to remain substance free.

"Cohen’s preferred workplace environment, which is fuelled with substances and illicit behaviour, permeates every aspect of Defendant Bravo productions."

A spokesperson for Andy denied the allegations against him.

They told Deadline: "The claims against Andy are completely false!”

Leah, 41, declared she was taking action to "hold Defendants’ accountable for their unlawful employment acts of disability discrimination, hostile work environment, retaliation, sex and gender discrimination."

She added in her court documents: "Reality always reveals itself: these unconscionable practices will no longer be tolerated; the pattern of discrimination and retaliation must stop—it is time that Defendants answer.”

After filing the lawsuit, Leah took to Instagram to call for the legal row to change reality TV for the better.

She wrote: “Your favorite Bravo shows are run by people who create a dangerous work environment, encourage substance abuse to artificially create drama and cynically prey on the vulnerabilities of their employees.

“I may be a pariah to them after this, but I do hope my lawsuit helps reality TV to align with its true purpose: to authentically depict the complexities of life while offering genuine support to those who share their stories (sic)"