Despite a global pandemic and global protests last year, some reality shows were still in the midst of filming. And the show must go on, as the saying goes. The death of George Floyd (and other Black citizens) sparked a nation under quarantine to take to the streets in protest for “Black Lives Matter.” Around that time, Southern Charm’s Kathryn Dennis landed herself in a social media beef that got her called out for racism. The scandal became a huge topic of interest on the Bravo show, but Dennis has hopes to improve things in Season 8.
In May, Kathryn Dennis got into an argument with a black radio host on Instagram, which culminated in Dennis using a monkey emoji and saying the host was playing a “minority platform,” leading many to believe the star was referring to host's race. Speaking exclusively to ET, Dennis acknowledged her mistake and hopes to show her personal development concerning race in the next season, stating:
The show's just been a great platform to do a lot of growth on, and if I come back it would be to just show positivity and moving in the right direction. This whole thing really opened my eyes to how much growth I did have left to do. I really think it’s easy for people to say, or assume in their life, that they know everything they need to know and they’re fine and they got it, but this really opened my eyes to the reality of no, we don't all understand every single thing and that's OK, and life is all about continuing to learn.
The mother of two continued that she never had to grow up thinking about racism and realized that was her privilege as a white woman in America. Dennis said she was able to grow from reading more about it after the scandal and credits boyfriend Chleb Ravenell with articulating his and his family’s experiences with being Black in America.
Kathryn Dennis was subject to scrutiny by not only the public but also her Southern Charm cast members for the scandal in Season 7. At first, Dennis attempted to retreat in the hopes that the scandal would simmer down (at the expense of her friendship with Danni Baird). But when the tactic proved intolerable, Dennis reached out to newcomer on the show Leva Bonaparte for advice. Bonaparte didn't mince words with her response, saying at the time, “I’m good on that relationship.”
News of Bonaparte becoming a cast member seemed to come at a strangely opportune time for Southern Charm, a show that has only ever had an all-white cast. Bonaparte showcased her Persian culture, as well as her experience as a mixed-race family with husband Lamar and 2-year-old son. But she also quickly took Kathryn Dennis to task for the scandal.
In the reunion special, Dennis was adamant at first that Bonaparte and others were “slandering” her and only using her mistake as a storyline for the show. This reduced Bonaparte to tears as she revealed how she receives countless death threats for attempting to start a dialogue with Dennis. The two seemed to come to resolution, with Dennis admitting the comments were tone-deaf:
It's been a long road, but I wouldn’t go back on anything. Not just in the last year, but in the last eight years. Everything led me to the place I'm at now, which is really good, and moving forward, I feel like I'm a better person, so I can't be anything but thankful.