Written by Colleen Mearon, October 14th, 2021
As the legal battles of reality star Erika Jayne and her estranged soon-to-be ex-husband Tom Girardi have been displayed on televisions across the country, Bravo has been subpoenaed for unaired footage of the star from season 11 of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
The hope is that this unaired footage could assist lawyers taking action against Girardi and Jayne. Fox News reported that Girardi has been brought to court in a $2 million embezzlement case regarding settlement funds that were meant for plane crash victims. Jayne filed for divorce one month prior to accusations surfacing, therefore raising further allegations that the couple split to protect their finances and assets.
This became a huge topic of conversation on Bravo’s most recent, drama-filled season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Jayne discussing the lawsuits and being questioned by her “friends” on the show.
Despite the case being a topic of conversation on the show, is it fair for the court to have access to unaired footage? Would that breach a contract between the reality star and Bravo? For now, the Bravo production team and producer Andy Cohen have been protecting Jayne and have not yet agreed to release unaired footage.
But are they truthfully protecting Jayne or are they using this as a means of profit for the show? Many people watched this season of the RHOBH solely to learn about the case and get Erika’s side of the story, raising views of the show to record highs. Attorney Jay Edelson told Fox News that “so far, Bravo has chosen to use the Girardi embezzlement scandal to increase ratings and make significant money for itself.”
Bravo could have avoided involvement in this ongoing issue by not hiring back Jayne for season 11. Instead, she was paid $600,000 to participate in the show this year, where she was able to frame herself as an additional victim of Tom Girardi, steering the attention away from his true wrongdoings of embezzling money meant for victims of a horrible plane crash.
Bravo’s Real Housewives series ends with a reunion for cast-mates following the production season with producer Andy Cohen as a host monitoring discussion of the cast. The trailer for the season 11 reunion emphasizes the tense atmosphere of this reunion, where the focus heavily lies on Erika Jayne.
“Although the reunion trailer suggests that Andy is finally going to ask the tough questions of Erika, he is strategically doing so to increase his ratings and make Bravo even more money,” Edelson claimed to Us Magazine. “We believe that Bravo has a legal and moral duty to cooperate in our litigation so the true facts come out and the families of the Lion Air crash victims can get some justice.”
With Jayne in the spotlight, Bravo is gaining viewers and increasing the show’s ratings- profiting off of her legal struggles as they are put on-air. The focus has strayed too far from the center of this issue: money is owed to victims. As a media company, Bravo has a responsibility to the public and they are failing to remain ethical in their decision making.