Reality TV producers feel they are being overlooked in Bethenny Frankel’s fight for unionization and have demanded their plight be heard alongside complaints from “exploited” stars.
Frankel, 52, a former Real Housewives of New York alum, led the charge against NBC Universal and Bravo, saying the talents suffered “grotesque and depraved” treatment on set and deserved residual pay.
Last month, she was among a list of Anonymous TV personalities who sent a bombshell letter accusing the network of “covering up sexual violence, condoning revenge porn, exploiting minors and denying health care.” Mental Health”.
The current and former stars also claimed to have been “mentally, physically and financially victimized,” to which NBC said they were “committed to maintaining a safe and respectful workplace for the cast and crew of our shows.” reality TV”.
Leading the way: Former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel, 52, is leading the movement, which she has called the “reality account.”
A recent follow-up letter from celebrity attorney Bryan Freedman alleged “the draconian terms of NBC’s contracts” and that “the scale and scope of wrongdoing is greater than previously believed.”
DailyMail.com has heard from Bravo reality TV producers past and present who stand in solidarity with Frankel’s mission – but feel overshadowed and left out of the conversation in the fight for better rights.
“I think it’s a good time for some kind of change, but I think the message is getting lost,” said a frustrated producer, who has worked on several Bravo shows, including Real Housewives of Dallas.
“We want better pay and better health care, but when you put out a 60-page document with all these allegations of sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption, it looks very different.”
A former Bravo producer, who has since ditched reality in favor of a different television genre, has agreed, telling DailyMail.com he hopes production teams are listened to.
“I hope Bethenny will hear the call if she’s sitting here pleading,” they said. “I’m not saying in any way to reduce talent requirements, but hopefully she can help on the production side as well. I mean, we’ve all been screaming into the void for years.
“She cares a lot about talent,” added a third producer. “And talent is very pampered and very fairly compensated on the Bethenny Frankel stage.”
As reality TV stars have alleged they were being exploited by reality TV networks, including claims they were denied food, producers told DailyMail.com their horror stories in behind the scenes – including the poor treatment meted out by the talent.
Damning allegations: NBC has been accused by its reality stars of a series of disturbing cover-ups
‘Old Bravo: Network chiefs are accused of victimizing reality TV stars ‘countless times’. Pictured (left to right) the cast of the hit NBC show Real Housewives of New York City Ramona Singer, Jill Zarin, Lu-Ann DeLesseps, Bethenny Frankel, Alex McCord
“I think actors, especially people like Bethenny, who aren’t the nicest people, sometimes forget that we’re people too,” one producer said.
“When we come to perform, we leave our lives behind. I’ve been called a lot of derogatory things because I didn’t or did something.
“There’s this sense of entitlement,” shared another who worked on Real Housewives of The OC, revealing reality stars have spat out phrases such as “I don’t have to do this, if I do not want to!” and ‘you don’t have a show without me!’
Another shed light on the “toxic culture” and said they ended up quitting the world of reality TV due to the unsustainable work-life balance.
“I almost collapsed because I was told I could leave at noon if I arrived earlier, and then noon came, I was getting ready to leave and I was told no, I had to stay,” they said.
“And for me, as a first-time mum, having left my house before my baby even woke up…I was thrilled to get home before he went to bed so I could see him for maybe be 30 minutes.”
“(Network bosses) don’t care,” they added. ” They do not care. Unfortunately, it is (a toxic culture). I was at the beginning of my career and I worked 15 to 20 hours a day. It’s just not sustainable either.
Speaking out: Bravo producers told DailyMail.com they felt left out of the conversation
Neglected: They claimed reality stars were ‘coddled’, while pointing out that they had been subjected to unfair treatment.
The producers, however, are united with Frankel when it comes to unionizing the reality sphere and believe the networks have been taking advantage of talent and crews for decades.
“I totally agree with Bethenny,” one said. “I think it will take time. Currently, we work in an unprotected segment of the industry. There is no residue, there is nothing to be honest. It’s like lab rats in a social experiment.
“This is all a sham. I get that’s capitalism at its best, but it’s like pure advantage. If you end up presenting a reality show on a network, they want to own your show. They own people’s intellectual property and accept their creative ideas because they don’t create anything.
“And it’s not just the Bravo shows. Thank goodness Bethenny lights the match. This is happening nationwide. This happens at all levels.
Echoing a similar sentiment, another told DailyMail.com: “You have to strike while the iron is hot. Right now everyone is clamoring for content and everyone is being listened to. People are heard. And if it’s about changes, when there is a mechanism for change, you should talk about it.
Currently, SAG-AFTRA, which is the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, has been on strike since July 14 after failing to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Film Producers. film and television (AMPTP).
The union represents about 160,000 actors in the United States and has expressed concerns about salaries and the use of artificial intelligence.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has also been on strike since May 2.
Hollywood on strike: SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since July 14 after failing to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP)
Earlier this month, SAG-AFRA announced it was supporting TV personalities in organizing and fighting production companies.
In a statement, they said, “SAG-AFTRA has engaged in discussions with Bryan Freedman of the law firm Freedman + Taitelman, LLP, which has been retained by Bethenny Frankel regarding the treatment of reality television performers.
“SAG-AFTRA is the union that represents reality TV artists. Depending on the structure of the production and the artists involved, we may cover these artists under our network code agreement.
“We stand ready to help Bethenny Frankel, Bryan Freedman and Mark Geragos as well as reality artists and our members in the fight and we are tired of studios and production companies trying to circumvent the Union in order to harness the talent they rely on to make their product.’
SAG added that they encourage reality artists and their members to reach out “so that we can work together to protect reality artists, end the exploitative practices that have grown in this area and embark on a new path to union coverage”.