Following her first season on the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Jennie Nguyen faced a major backlash from fans – but not for anything related to the show. Old Facebook posts of hers came to light that criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in 2020 against police brutality, with phrases like “BLM thugs” and “violent gangs” being used to refer to protesters. Nguyen was in the middle of filming Season 3 of the show, and her co-star Jen Shah publicly responded at the time that they had “shit to talk about.” But not long after, Bravo fired the newcomer due to the growing controversy. Nguyen has since made new claims in the wake of her removal, which Shah herself is flat out refuting.
After her ousting, Jennie Nguyen took to her Instagram Live to say her piece. A lot was said, but one of her most contentious claims was that she didn't actually post most of the Facebook comments in question. Nguyen referred to having a social media team “helping” her at that time but that it didn't “really matter” whether it was them or her posting because she was taking the “full responsibility.” Real Housewives of Salt Lake City's Jen Shah slammed the statements in a comment on Reality Rundown’s repost of the Live, saying,
Other viewers echoed Jen Shah’s issues with the way Jennie Nguyen attempted to rectify the situation. Where Shah called it “performative slacktivism” for Nguyen to bring in a Black friend of hers, fans labelled it Black “tokenism” in an effort to skirt responsibility. Some were even suggesting that the man was paid to speak on Nguyen’s behalf as he did.
Though Jennie Nguyen did apologize throughout the live for insulting viewers and supporters with the “disgusting” Facebook posts, she also made other claims in her defense. For example, Nguyen stated that she was not a racist, yet her friend emphasized that people cannot “play the race card” with her, simply because she had a Black employee in her previous businesses. Additionally, the fired Real Housewives star reflected that she stands firm in her “political stance” concerning the time period and that she is proud to have “an opinion” and “freedom of speech” like everyone else.
This isn't the first racial controversy to rock the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. Mary Cosby came under fire in Season 2 for several controversial comments of her own, most notably when she said that Jennie Nguyen has “slanted eyes.” Cosby in fact skipped the show's reunion taping and has been curiously missing from production for the third season.
It isn’t clear as of yet if Mary Cosby will indeed follow Jennie Nguyen out the Bravo door. But things are looking stormier by the day in Salt Lake City.
Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.
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