According to the lawsuit, Leakes, a Black woman, complained about Kim Zolciak Biermann's racist comments over years. However, only Leakes was able to sue.
It names Bravo, NBCUniversal and Truly Original as defendants, along with executives from these companies and Andy Cohen, "Housewives", executive producer.
According to the suit, "NBC, Bravo, and True foster a corporate culture and workplace culture where racially insensitive and inappropriate behavior are tolerated - if possible, encouraged."
Replies to defendants and Zolciak–Biermann requesting comment were not returned immediately.
Leakes (54), a TV personality, actor, and whose legal name Linnethia Monique Leakes was, between 2008 and 2020, one of the main stars of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta".
It claims that the cast planned to attend a barbecue during the first season of the series, which aired 2008, and Kim Zolciak - Biermann, a housewife, replied to the idea with words to the effect: "I don't want NeNe to sit around and eat chicken." The suit also states that the statement "perpetuated an offensive stereotype" about African-Americans.
According to the suit, Zolciak–Biermann made offensive comments about Burruss' swimming pool in 2012, during the fifth season.
According to the suit, Zolciak–Biermann also used the N-word to describe Leakes and other housewives in the same year. This was after a dispute, it alleges. The suit also claims that Zolciak Biermann falsely implied Leakes had used drugs and called her house a "roach nest".
"From the beginning of the series, NeNe was the victim of systemic racism by co-star Kim Zolciak–Biermann, which was tolerable by Bravo executive producer Andy Cohen, and other executives," David deRubertis, Leakes' lawyer, stated in a statement.
Joe Habachy, another Leakes attorney, stated via email that NeNe wakes up feeling overwhelmed by the unfortunate and preventable events.
Leakes claims that her racism complaints led to Leakes' expulsion from the show in 2020, before its 13th season.
According to the suit, Leakes' negotiations with Leakes for the season occurred as Black Lives Matter was growing in momentum. Leakes was a vocal supporter.
Executives tried to keep Leakes silent about the cause, keeping her away from early episodes where the housewives would discuss BLM, the suit alleges.
According to the suit, "As the Black Lives Matter movement swept the nation, Mrs. Leakes -- Bravo’s historically most successful Black female talent -- should've been embraced by NBC and Bravo," "Instead, NBC Bravo, Bravo, and True forced Mrs. Leakes out of the house she built', denying her a regular position."
The suit claims that the defendants' actions are in violation of federal anti-discrimination and employment law. It seeks monetary damages which will be determined at trial.