Last year on The Real Housewives of New York, the show’s first-ever Black castmate, Eboni K. Williams, initiated several conversations pertaining to race and culture on the show. And the reactions from both her veteran co-stars and the Bravo viewers were divided, to say the least. While some considered the dialogue either “preachy” or outside the purview of reality TV drama, others contended that Williams was within her rights to speak about her own life experiences. Following the controversy, the reunion special was cancelled and, more recently, the network has decided to pursue a more “inclusive” route by splitting the show into a reboot and spinoff. Cast member Leah McSweeney is now getting candid about her perspective on that subject and others amidst filming that last “doomed” Season 13.
Of late, the 39-year-old has been busy promoting her new memoir, Chaos Theory, which delves into her childhood and history with drugs and alcohol more extensively. But while she was discussing the book with Entertainment Tonight, the conversation inevitably turned to the now-infamous thirteenth season, which was Leah McSweeney’s second year on Real Housewives of New York. She shared that several factors played into what happened on the show but, ultimately, those race conversations needed to take place, saying,
There were many episodes in Season 13 that prompted major backlash online, such as Ramona Singer taking issue with the “Black” Shabbat dinner. However, none were quite so explosive as the cast’s trip to the Hamptons that saw a major debate over the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype, which later forced Eboni K. Williams to take a mental health break from social media. Leah McSweeney backed up Williams at the time, yet she doesn’t think everyone’s feet should’ve been head to the coals for what was only a short period of time. She said:
When the Season 13 episodes were rolling out, the star again defended Eboni K. Williams’ discussions about race to the press, saying that the Real Housewives of New York cast should not be “censored.” Nevertheless, Williams recently revealed that the real reason behind the latest changes to the long-running series was that none of the cast were willing to negotiate about her future and that of other potential newcomers. As she would tell it, only Sonja Morgan was willing to “come to the table.”
Leah McSweeney told the outlet that she thinks the reboot’s new cast for Season 14 and the “all-star” spinoff is a “super cool idea.” The RHONY star added that she doesn’t know if she’ll be asked back one way or the other. What she does know is:
I don’t know about y’all, but she seems to be hinting that her known friendship with Julia Fox could indeed help increase the chances of their places on the reboot, as speculated… For now, though, not much is confirmed about the particulars of the reboot beyond that it will be on a streaming platform, most likely Peacock Premium, not Bravo itself. We’ll see if the first season of the revamped show runs a bit more smoothly than Season 13 did.