Southern Charm star Thomas Ravenel has been accused of sexual assault by two different women.
Ravenel will not be at the reunion special, leaving many fans to praise Bravo for finally addressing the accusations.
… But did the cast force their hand? Because apparently members of the Southern Charm cast are unwilling to film scenes with Ravenel.
According to Fit News, Thomas Ravenel’s Southern Charm costars are way too creeped out by the allegations to want to share a room with him.
“Several cast members made it clear they would no longer feel comfortable filming scenes with the 55-year-old playboy.”
That sounds like an issue that extends beyond the reunion.
Reports say that Bravo reached the same conclusion.
“As an explanation about why Thomas was not at the reunion, the network planned to announce that the former politician was not returning to the series, but that information leaked last week.”
Apparently, cast members were quick to share that Ravenel gave them the heebie-jeebies.
“Before the production company made the decision to pull the plug on Thomas’ invite to the reunion, at least two cast members had said they didn’t want to participate if Ravenel was attending.”
We don’t know which cast members spoke out.
The accusations against Ravenel are currently being investigated by the Charleston Police Department and by Southern Charm‘s production company, Haymakers.
There were reports that the cast is remaining tight-lipped in public because of either stern warnings or potentially even gag orders issued from Bravo.
(To be clear, Bravo is not accused of trying to obstruct justice, just of trying to keep its cast from potentially making a bad PR situation worse)
However, there are suggestions — rumors, really — that Bravo plans to lift all of that for the reunion special.
Ravenel won’t be there, and his costars can say what they really think of him and what he is accused of having done.
But, at this point, Ravenel not being invited to the reunion is almost a side note.
Those reports — alleged leaks — that he won’t be featured on Southern Charm anymore may be a bigger deal.
(And no, despite the intense drama of his girlfriend Ashley Jacobs’ recent attack on Kathryn Dennis, this isn’t because his absence may change the dynamic)
If Bravo is taking this step to remove him, that means that they’re taking these allegations seriously.
One wonders what the internal investigation has uncovered. What the police investigation has uncovered.
The public knows that Ravenel is accused of assaulting the mother of a real estate agent.
He is also accused of assaulting his former nanny, Nanny Dawn, in a room very close to that in which his young daughter was sleeping.
Others have come forward to describe alarming behavior that they witnessed.
So … is there more?
Fans and viewers will be particularly interested to hear what Ravenel’s ex and baby mama, Kathryn Dennis, has to say.
Though the two have been getting along better recently as part of coparenting efforts, this is serious business.
It seems likely that Kathryn Dennis will try to amend their custody arrangement in light of it.
Because of custody concerns and the shared children, she may mitigate her words about Ravenel at the reunion.
But … it will still be very interesting to hear whatever she has to say.
But even if the entire Southern Charm cast is unanimous in their condemnation of Ravenel …
(They almost certainly will not be — they have many opinions, many of them are argumentative, and that everything that makes them entertaining as reality stars would also make them a terrible jury)
… That won’t mean much except where it influences the opinion of fans.
If Ravenel’s accusers are hoping for justice, the opinions of prosecutors in Charleston will matter more than what any reality star thinks.
Sexual assault is notoriously difficult to prove, in part because the evidentiary system was designed when women were effectively property, and so investigators and potentially prosecutors will have their work cut out for them.
If it is true that Ravenel has been removed from the series, some fans may cry foul, saying that he hasn’t been proven guilty. That would be true; Ravenel has always denied that he has assaulted any woman.
But Bravo has to consider whether or not they want one of their most successful reality series to feature a man accused of sexual assault. How many viewers want to watch a man that at least some of them believe is a monster?