One insult that is tossed back and forth on Real Housewives is the suggestion that one cast member or another has a drinking problem. Now some are saying that it is the Bravo production staff that keeps the booze flowing. Though most jobs don’t allow employees to drink on the job, on the Bravo reality shows, it’s allegedly encouraged.
Page Six says that former RHONY cast member Aviva Drescher complained to production about being urged to take shots on camera.
“I told the head producer, ‘I don’t want to do a shot. Can you just fill it with water?’ And they said no.”
Aviva says she felt bullied into drinking while working for Bravo.
“I was so weak and so intimidated by the production team, and I had just gone through all the negotiations of my contract for the second season and those were demoralizing,” she said. “I took the shot. I felt tremendous pressure to do it.”
This season, Bethenny pointed out to Dorinda that she sometimes drinks too much, and in past seasons, both Ramona and Sonja were called out for possibly having drinking problems (and ironically, both created their own brands of alcohol).
But the most dramatic episode this year involving alcohol on RHONY involved Luann de Lesseps getting arrested while intoxicated in a Palm Beach hotel. Recently on RHOP, Monique Samuels was accused by the other women of drunk driving after day drinking martinis with cast member Ashley. When this came out, fans learned that Karen Huger also got a DUI while filming the series in Potomac, Maryland. On RHOBH, a storyline for two years revolved around Kim Richards and her struggle with alcoholism, which led to an arrest at a local Target.
Aviva Drescher says she was concerned by the drinking because she grew up with an alcoholic mother.
“When I see some of the drunk scenes, it’s dark. It’s gone from being funny and giddy to being drunk and depressing and it makes me feel sad,” she said.
Several sources close to the Real Housewives franchises says that alcohol flows freely on set, and often those with substance abuse problems (and perhaps mental health concerns) are exploited. Drescher says there was never a lack of booze on the set.
“At times, the producers would say, ‘Well, we’re not going to pay for Mr. Chow to cater your party because that’s over budget. But you’ll never hear them say, ‘We won’t pay for alcohol.’ It’s always readily available.”
Gretchen Rossi of RHOC says that she never had to actually ask for a drink.
“I woke up and thought, ‘Gosh, I never specifically went up and asked for another drink.’ My drink always seemed to be magically filled up.”