A shocking number of accusations of sexual misconduct about figures on the small screen have emerged over the past year, and Real Housewives of Potomac is the latest show to be rocked by allegations against somebody involved in production. Michael Darby, husband of RHOP star Ashley Darbty and who has appeared on the show, has been accused of sexually assaulting a cameraman. The allegations are obviously quite serious, but Ashley Darby doesn't seem too worried about them. In a social media post featuring a photo of her husband, Darby shared this message:
Ashley Darby, 30, shared her message on September 29 with an Instagram story, and her message indicates that she's standing by her 59-year-old husband and isn't bothered by the allegations against him. Interestingly, her comment of "No Bravo suspension" contradicts a statement released by Bravo the day before that stated Bravo and production company Truly Original had suspended filming with Michael Darby. Is Ashley Darby simply mistaken about the suspension? Was the issue somehow resolved between September 28 and September 29? Does she have behind-the-scenes info that gives her no reason for concern about what's in store for her husband?
Whatever the reason for her very optimistic post, Michael Darby isn't just facing potential problems from Bravo. He has evidently been charged with felony assault and misdemeanor improper sexual conduct, according to court records (via People), and Bravo is standing by its statement regarding Darby's suspension. The alleged assault happened on September 1 during filming for an episode of Real Housewives of Potomac. Cameraman Orville Palmer claims that Michael Darby grabbed and groped him, then followed with "a flirtatious look." Orville reportedly told Michael Darby to stop his actions, and then informed his supervisor.
Back in a Season 1 episode of Real Housewives of Potomac, fellow star Gizelle Bryant claimed to Ashley Darby that she'd seen Michael Darby touching another man's backside. That moment was likely forgotten by most viewers until the allegations were raised in late September. It should be interesting to see how the case against Michael Darby does or does not impact RHOP and his wife's role on it.
Unlike cases such as those against NCIS: New Orleans producer Brad Kern, AMC's Chris Hardwick over the summer (which came to nothing), and the Arrow-verse's Andrew Kreisberg (which cost him his job), the RHOP case is not being handled internally now that Michael Darby has been charged through the court system. Darby's future on RHOP will be dictated by Bravo and Truly Original, but his fate is otherwise in the hands of the courts. Was his wife's optimism premature?
We'll have to wait and see. The inevitable controversy regarding the allegations won't be pretty, but it probably won't ruin the Real Housewives franchise that has been such a winner for Bravo over the years since The Real Housewives of Orange County premiered back in 2006. For some non-Housewives viewing options, swing by our fall TV premiere schedule and our Netflix premiere guide.