Hours before the three-day fan convention officially began in Las Vegas, Us Weekly caught up with Vanderpump at Flamingo Las Vegas, where she is set to open up her third venue on The Strip, Pinky’s by Vanderpump.
“To have an amazing television career, I’m so thankful to NBC and Bravo. They’ve taken so much crap lately from so many people that you know used to work for them, [and] I think it’s a shame,” Vanderpump began on Thursday, November 2. “You’ve got to also look at what they’ve given you as well.”
Former New York City Housewife Bethenny Frankel has made a series of allegations against Bravo in recent months, making waves when she had former Vanderpump Rules star Rachel “Raquel” Leviss on her podcast this summer. The three-part interview was the first time Leviss spoke since she quit the show in the aftermath of her affair with Tom Sandoval, alleging she was exploited by the series.
“I think she should’ve come back and spoken to me,” Vanderpump told Us of Leviss’ decision. “And when I say [it would have been] a safe place, I am not putting it out there that it would be anything ever less than safe, but it would be nobody interrupting [her]. Where she could’ve had a conversation and really shared her thoughts because I would be ready to hear that. And I would’ve liked to have seen the growth. You know, she went off somewhere for three months, but I don’t like the lies that are coming about Bravo and NBC and Bethenny saying, ‘Oh, she got paid like an intern.’ And me saying, ‘No, she got a few hundred thousand dollars, that’s not true.’ And her turning around saying, ‘Oh, that’s a lie.’ No, it’s not, it’s factual — that’s how much you got paid.”
Frankel was the one to allege in August that she heard Leviss got “paid in a year less than my interns get paid” for season 10 of Vanderpump Rules.
“I think when people are gonna be great authorities on something, they check their facts,” Vanderpump continued. “And also I don’t like the degeneration of somebody like NBC and Bravo that have given so much to these people, so many opportunities. Of course, I’m sure people got rights, but Rachel [or] Raquel — she said she was at some point negotiating for more money to come back. So these people that are now complaining — like Lisa Rinna [saying], ‘Boycott BravoCon’ and Bethenny saying this — I think a lot of them were pitching and asking for shows.”
Vanderpump’s former costar Rinna’s run on RHOBH ended earlier this year, and she was quick to support Frankel’s call for reality TV residuals, one of the many parts of Frankel’s “reality reckoning.” Frankel has also come for producer and host Andy Cohen and his line of questioning (and promotion of drinking) on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen. In a recent Vanity Fair story, former RHONY star Leah McSweeney stated that felt discriminated against for being an alcoholic.
“I have great respect for NBC,” Vanderpump continued. “You’ve seen me for years on Watch What Happens Live, I’m one of the few talent that actually do [WWHL] on their own. I don’t need to get slaughtered to do that. They’ll always say ‘Lisa, what do you want to drink?’ I say, ‘I’ll have something afterward.’ I think, if you wanna drink, then take it on yourself. Nobody is force-feeding you. So a lot of that a lot of bulls–t, people casting blame. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
As BravoCon continues, fans in Vegas can stop by Vanderpump à Paris or Vanderpump Cocktail Garden and look forward to Pinky’s coming in 2024.
“Pinky’s was my nickname for many years,” Vanderpump told Us, recalling that she wanted to go by “Pinky” on the first season of RHOBH. “It’s no secret I love pink. And those exquisite birds behind — that’s extraordinary feat of nature to create a bird like that. … [Flamingo’s] is an iconic hotel and we let our imaginations run wild with this.”