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Leah McSweeney files lawsuit against Andy Cohen and Bravo, alleges cast cocaine use

Former "Real Housewives of New York City" star Leah McSweeney is accusing host and executive producer Andy Cohen and the team behind the Bravo reality shows of creating a "rotted" workplace culture fueled by alcohol and drugs.

The 109-page lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York Tuesday and obtained by USA TODAY, names Cohen, Bravo, NBC Universal, Warner Bros. Discovery, Shed Media and producers John Paparazzo, Lisa Shannon and Darren Ward in the suit.

The employment discrimination lawsuit follows recent filings by Brandi Granville and Caroline Manzo against the media companies.

Leah McSweeney is suing Andy Cohen, Bravo and more for pressuring her to drink alcohol despite her sobriety and creating a "rotted workplace culture."
Leah McSweeney is suing Andy Cohen, Bravo and more for pressuring her to drink alcohol despite her sobriety and creating a "rotted workplace culture."

McSweeney alleges that Cohen and the other parties fostered a "rotted workplace culture" where employees were encouraged to drink alcohol and created an unsafe working environment that did not accommodate her disabilities, including alcohol use disorder and "various mental health disorders."

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In a statement to USA TODAY, a representative for Cohen said "The claims against Andy are completely false."

USA TODAY has reached out to reps for Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Shed Media and Shannon for comment.

Leah McSweeney speaks out on lawsuit: 'I was petrified'

The "Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip" star commented on the lawsuit in a statement posted on Instagram Tuesday.

"This is not a story I ever thought I would be telling; in fact, I was petrified to speak on it and was warned not to," she began the statement. "Your favorite Bravo shows are run by people who create a dangerous work environment, encourage substance abuse to artificially create drama and cynically prey on the vulnerabilities of their employees."

A reality TV reckoning in Hollywood: 'Love is Blind' contestant Renee Poche sues Netflix, says she 'felt like a prisoner'

She continued: "Some of the stories and incidents that are detailed in the lawsuit have been shown in edited form on TV or reported in media, but many have not. And there will be much more that comes out once the people involved are questioned under oath.

"Today I am taking back my reality," she wrote.

Glanville commented on the post: "We are NOT expendable. We are strong women & even stronger together. Time to take our power back."

Leah McSweeney claims Bravo producers caused her to relapse

McSweeney starred in Seasons 12 and 13 of "RHONY" and Season 3 of "RHUGT."

In the lawsuit, McSweeney claims she maintained nine years of sobriety, but five months before she joined the "Housewives" cast, she relapsed. She claims the team behind the show knew about her relapse, which she divulged in her casting tape, and that she suffers from alcohol use disorder. When she returned to sobriety around the time filming began for Season 12, she says she expressed to producers and cast members her desire to remain sober.

Alcohol use disorder encompasses conditions that are often referred to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction and alcoholism, the latter of which is a chronic disease indicated by uncontrolled drinking and a fixation with alcohol, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Leah McSweeney, left, and Candiace Dillard-Bassett are seen in Season 3, Episode 1, of "The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip."
Leah McSweeney, left, and Candiace Dillard-Bassett are seen in Season 3, Episode 1, of "The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip."

McSweeney claims she confided in producers about her condition, and that they used the information against her to find "potential scenarios that might trigger her to relapse" or aggravate her mental health disabilities.

The "RHONY" producers "pressured" McSweeney to drink, supplied her with "unlimited, free-of-charge" alcohol, and encouraged other cast members to drink, she claims.

She says she relapsed shortly after Season 12 began, which came to a head in an "infamous" episode of "RHONY" titled "Hurricane Leah."

"While relapsing, Ms. McSweeney grew mentally and physically ill, which manifested into extreme depressive symptoms. All of which occurred" during filming, the lawsuit says.

The producers "cultivated a treasure trove of Ms. McSweeney's dark secrets with intent to place her in situations known to exacerbate her alcohol use disorder and mental health disabilities because they thought that intentionally making these conditions worse would create good television," the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit claims the show's producers engaged in "guerilla-type psychological warfare" despite having a legal obligation to accommodate McSweeney's mental health and "addiction-related" disabilities.

Leah McSweeney claims Andy Cohen fuels culture of 'drug and alcohol abuse'

Later, McSweeney claims Cohen "engages in cocaine use with Housewives and other 'Bravolebrities' that he employs," and promotes a workplace culture that thrives on "drug and alcohol abuse."

Cohen is the longtime executive producer of Bravo's "The Real Housewives" franchise and host of its reunions, as well as the host of the network's late night talk show "Watch What Happens Live."

"Cohen's proclivity for cocaine usage with his employees is well-known throughout the Real Housewives franchise," the lawsuit alleges, and he favors cast members that "play ball" and "tends to provide the Housewives with whom he uses cocaine with more favorable treatment and edits."

This environment, "fueled with substances and illicit behavior, permeates every aspect of" Bravo's productions, the suit claims.

Wendy Osefo, left; Drew Sidora; Leah McSweeney; Julia Lemigova speak at the Bravocon panel Housewife2Housewife in New York City on October 16, 2022.
Wendy Osefo, left; Drew Sidora; Leah McSweeney; Julia Lemigova speak at the Bravocon panel Housewife2Housewife in New York City on October 16, 2022.

Leah McSweeney's Bravo lawsuit follows claims by Brandi Glanville, Caroline Manzo

Glanville, a former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star, accused Cohen of sexual harassment in a letter issued to Bravo's parent company, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery and Shed Media, claiming he sent her an inappropriate video in 2022.

The letter was written in response to accusations of sexual assault made against Glanville.

Andy Cohen apologizes, denies sexually harassing Brandi Glanville in 2022 video call

The reality star also accused NBCUniversal and its affiliate companies of taking advantage of her and "standing idly by" as her character and livelihood were put into question, tricking her by falsely claiming the investigation into Manzo's claims of sexual harassment "would be kept strictly confidential," and holding "reckless disregard for the mental and emotional health of" their employees.

A lawsuit filed by Manzo against Bravo last month alleged an incident involving sexual harassment by Glanville, her former co-star.

Lawsuit: Caroline Manzo sues Bravo over sexual harassment by Brandi Glanville on 'Real Housewives'

The former "Real Housewives of New Jersey" star filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court on Jan. 26 alleging Glanville sexually assaulted and harassed Manzo while filming an upcoming season of "RHUGT" in Morocco in January 2023, according to a legal filing obtained by USA TODAY. The lawsuit also named Warner Bros. and NBCUniversal as defendants.

Manzo accused the show's producers of hiring Glanville as a cast member despite "overwhelming prior notice of Ms. Glanville's prior deviant sexual proclivities and sexually harassing conduct."

In a statement provided to USA TODAY last month, a representative for Glanville denied the allegations.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental and/or substance use disorders, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's free and confidential treatment referral and information service at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). It's available 24/7 in English and Spanish (TTY: 1-800-487-4889).

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, RAINN offers support through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE & online.rainn.org).

Contributing: Jay Stahl and KiMi Robinson

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Andy Cohen, Bravo sued by RHONY star Leah McSweeney for discrimination