“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” alumnae Nene Leakes and Porsha Williams see the parallels between the ongoing actors and writers strike in Hollywood and networks profiting off the likeness of reality stars.
Bethenny Frankel of “The Real Housewives of New York” recently spoke out about TV stars not being paid residuals. She also said it was time they unionized and joined the picket line.
Leakes agrees with Frankel’s push for better treatment. “For a very long time, I have said that there’s a lot of unfair treatment in different areas of the reality workspace,” she said during a recent live chat with fans.
Leakes famously filed a lawsuit against Bravo in 2022, accusing the network of fostering a racially insensitive culture. The “RHOA” O.G. later dismissed the suit. In the recent video, Leakes reiterated Frankel’s claims that reality personalities do not earn residuals. The former peach holder also disclosed that they do not have health benefits.
“They don’t have, like, any health benefits, any residuals. There’s no union for reality stars, all of those things you see,” she said. Leakes is one of the most memed housewives, yet she does not profit from her popular show moments.
“Even with myself, all of the memes and stuff that’s out there, the way your likeness is used…you don’t get one red penny. I don’t get a penny for all of those memes that you see out there,” Leakes explained. She noted that she has benefits as a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA).
Williams, who left “RHOA” after season 13, spoke with “Entertainment Tonight” about the uphill battle to reconcile residual payouts. “When you are signed to those contracts, when you have signed away your likeness, you are fighting an uphill battle, while being famous,” she said.
Here’s what fans had to say:
“If any one deserves residuals it’s NeNe. She is one of, if not the most popular housewife.”
“She made a lot more than most people when she was on the show. Most people could live on that for the rest of their life. I’ll stop at that!”
“Ok so wasn’t reality TV essentially born out of a writers strike and networks not wanting to pay?”
“If i was making millions from a reality show im sure i should be able to pay my own healthcare. Residuals on what though? Like if they do a marathon ?? Lol idk what that even means.”
“now that a white woman talked, suddenly it’s right huh? just proves nene’s claims of being profiled oh well.”
Members of the Writers Guild of America were the first to strike after contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in May. SAG-AFTRA joined WGA in July after the union’s contract with AMPTP expired. Their negotiations hit a standstill over the use of AI and pay scales that would give all actors livable wages.
This is the first time both unions have been on strike together since 1960. Stars who have not shown up with picket signs still have shown their support for Hollywood’s backbone. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made a historic seven-figure donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. The nonprofit provides financial assistance to members in need.
Snoop Dogg has been vocally supportive of the strike since it began two months ago. In June, he postponed his performance celebrating the 30th anniversary of “Doggystyle.” On July 25, he doubled down on his stance of solidarity when he cancelled the show that was slated to take place at the Hollywood Bowl.