Reality TV Stars Unite: Demanding Fair Treatment and Residuals

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Bethenny Frankel’s call for a reality TV union for just compensation and fair treatment.

In a recent turn of events, Bethenny Frankel’s impassioned plea for reality TV stars to demand fair treatment and residuals has garnered support from several of her fellow Housewives. During Jill Zarin’s Luxury Luncheon benefiting the Bobby Zarin Memorial Trust, The Messenger caught up with both former and current Housewives, who shared their thoughts on Frankel’s idea.

LeeAnn Locken, the former Real Housewives of Dallas star, expressed her agreement with Frankel’s proposal, stating that the audience often assumes reality stars are paid every time their episodes air, but in reality, they only receive compensation during the initial creation of the show. Locken emphasized the need for fair compensation as networks continue to air their work indefinitely, reaping profits from their performances and words.

Braunwyn Windham-Burke, star of The Real Housewives of Orange County, admitted that she had never considered the possibility of a reality TV union until Frankel brought it up. She praised the idea, acknowledging the long-term nature of many reality shows and participants’ lack of financial gain. Although she considered the prospect somewhat far-fetched, Windham-Burke believed that the unionization of reality TV could greatly benefit hardworking individuals in the industry.

Frankel’s initial question to her followers on Instagram about why reality TV isn’t on strike resonated with many. She shed light on the disparities between reality TV stars and traditional actors, pointing out the lack of residuals despite the enduring popularity of their shows. Her candid remarks ignited discussions among Housewives, drawing attention to the need for fair compensation.

Cynthia Bailey from The Real Housewives of Atlanta voiced her long-standing belief that reality stars deserve residuals for the use of their likeness in perpetuity. She emphasized the importance of receiving compensation for their image and likeness being continuously aired on television. Bailey supported the idea of fair remuneration for all those who have contributed to reality TV shows.

Margaret Josephs, a Real Housewives of New Jersey star, may not have directly discussed the matter with Frankel, but she fully supported the proposal. Her endorsement further reinforced the growing momentum behind Frankel’s push for change.

The discussion surrounding fair treatment and residuals for reality stars has shed light on the industry’s inequities and sparked a much-needed conversation about ensuring just compensation for their hard work. As the movement gains momentum, it remains to be seen how reality TV networks and producers will respond to the demands for change.


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