Regarding the Sandoval fallout, Raquel Leviss sues Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix

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If you believed that the “Scandoval” explosion radius from Vanderpump Rules was confined, you should reconsider. Rachel Leviss is suing Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix in a scathing complaint filed in Los Angeles on Thursday. The case is about allegations of revenge porn, eavesdropping, breach of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Raquel Leviss Lawsuit:

“Vengeful for the public, ‘Scandoval’ went viral and breathed new life into the Vanderpump Rules,” reads the jury trial-seeking case filed in Los Angeles Superior Court today (see it here). Additionally, it wreaked havoc on Leviss’s life, leading to her leaving the show and requiring months of inpatient therapy at a mental health institution. Leviss was publicly skewered in a way that had never been done before, thanks to the cast, Bravo, and Evolution. She is, without a doubt, one of the most despised women in America.

Despite not being mentioned explicitly in the most recent lawsuit resulting from the Real Housewives franchise, Bravo, NBCUniversal, Andy Cohen, and other Vanderpump producers are discussed extensively.

Simultaneously, as the inner workings of the unscripted industry come under closer examination, and even as Leviss is focusing her ire on Sandoval and Madix, seeking unspecified damages, the former VR star, represented by Bryan Freedman and Mark Geragos, wants all copies of an explicit Facetime video featuring her and Sandoval destroyed, along with an injunction to prevent anyone from ever viewing it again. This is focused on NBCUniversal’s Bravo and producers Amazon MGM Studios’ Evolution Media.

According to Leviss’ petition, “it is evident that Bravo purposefully sacrificed Leviss for the benefit of its commercial interests by refusing to give her the chance to present her side of the story and defend herself, which she repeatedly begged for permission to do.”

To refresh your memory, “Scandoval” began when Sandoval, just featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine, betrayed one of Madix’s closest friends, Leviss, instead of his then-girlfriend. But last year, just as Bravo was premiering the tenth season of Vanderpump Rules, Sandoval went viral, allegedly caused in large part by an obscene film featuring Leviss that Sandoval had covertly recorded and distributed. After Madix allegedly accidentally glanced at Sandoval’s phone, he learned about the affair, and unplanned chaos ensued.

Season 11 of VR is now running, and the aftermath of Season 10 has been the subject of several reunion specials. Although Leviss hasn’t yet appeared in VR Season 11, she spoke about the issue last summer on Bethenny Frankel’s podcast. Furthermore, attorneys for Leviss submitted cease-and-desist letters to the parties involved in the previous year, alleging that the film was “done illegally without Raquel’s knowledge or consent” and that it violated California law regarding “nonconsensual pornography.”

Today’s lawsuit is the logical next move for Leviss in what Frankel has referred to as the “reality reckoning” around the creation of television programs such as Vanderpump Rules, Real Housewives, and other spinoffs.

Although Bravo isn’t a defendant in this case—at least not yet—Deadline contacted the NBCU-owned channel over Leviss’ move because the outlet is cited frequently in the lawsuit. They didn’t reply immediately, but this post will be updated as soon as they do.

Geragos, a well-known figure in the courts and on cable TV, had further thoughts on Leviss’ lawsuit and the broader context of reality TV today.

The lawyer told Deadline today, “This lawsuit is squarely about illegal behavior and those who traffic in it and enable it.” Rachel is sorry for her involvement in the affair. That is not illegal. It is stated here that Tom and Ariana committed crimes. They then went all in, using those acts as justification for humiliating, berating, and purposely attempting to ruin Rachel’s mental state.

According to Geragos, the worst punishments permitted by law are for filming someone while purposefully enticing them into sexual behaviors. It is unlawful to record someone without their knowledge and publish such tape.

Speaking about today’s filing and the Bravoverse, Freedman also had something to say on behalf of Frankel, Brandi Glanville, and other unscripted stars amid a rising backlash against stringent NDAs and purported behind-the-scenes machinations.

The formidable attorney declared, “For decades, much of my life has been focused on mental health recovery and care and helping others on that path.” “NBC and Bravo’s use of unlawful NDAs as leverage to exploit its staff for financial gain infuriates me. It is absurd to think that people should put their mental and emotional well-being at risk to boost Bravo’s viewership. Because of the blatant and deliberate activities of NBC and Bravo, many of its employees suffer in silence. Mark Geragos and I have received hundreds of messages from reality TV contestants, and we are determined to make sure they have ardent supporters to tackle the harm these employers have inflicted upon their lives.

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