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NBCUniversal Updates Workplace Conduct Guidelines For Reality Shows Amid On-Set Scandals

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NBCUniversal is updating and strengthening its workplace conduct guidelines for reality shows amid on-set scandals on various Bravo productions.

Deadline obtained a memo sent by Frances Berwick, Chairman, NBCUniversal Entertainment, to the company’s external production company partners and in it, the Bravo bigwig announces new protocols for ensuring cast and crew well-being.

Alcohol use

Alcohol consumption on Bravo reality shows has been a big topic as of late and it was the first concern addressed by Berwick’s memo, according to Deadline.

Below Deck Down Under featured multiple inappropriate incidents of sexual harassment during Season 2 amid high alcohol consumption. (Photo: Bravo)

“Building on our current protocols, we will require that you deliver an expanded alcohol-related training to the cast, crew and production team, which must include details on how production will monitor alcohol, including when consumption limits may be appropriate and when and how to intervene to maintain cast and crew safety,” she wrote.

Mental health support

NBCUniversal is also looking to update its processes around mental health and while “the company already requires all reality participants to meet with a psychologist prior to filming and are provided with psychological support during and after filming,” there now must be psychological care made available after filming that includes “health support to cast through the airing of the show and beyond, including mandatory on-set support during reunion tapings.”

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Some Bravo stars, including Rachel Leviss, have accused Bravo of not providing enough mental health support. (Photo: Bravo)

In addition, Berwick also addressed violence on-set and will be implementing “more serious consequences for physical violence.”

Confidentiality clauses

According to the write up, the memo also addressed the use of confidentiality clauses, something former Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel has called out amid her “reality reckoning” campaign. While Frankel has suggested the organization is using NDAs to keep talent from speaking out about their experience, NBCUniversal throws cold water on that idea and confirms they have never enforced the contracts in that manner.

Added Berwick, “We expect that production companies will ensure that all talent and crew agreements have confidentiality language that carves out reporting of unlawful conduct.”

Bethenny calls out Bravo

The revelation that NBCUniversal is updating and strengthening their workplace conduct guidelines for reality shows comes amid various on-set scandals at Bravo, one of the company’s most prized brands.

While Frankel continues to call out her former employer, scandals have erupted on-set of various Bravo productions including inappropriate incidents involving alcohol and sexual harrassment on Below Deck Down Under and Below Deck Sailing Yacht, former Vanderpump Rules star Rachel Leviss has implied the company is allegedly complicit in revenge porn, and the network is facing allegations from various talent and crew that it has fostered an environment of “grotesque and depraved mistreatment.”

Bethenny Frankel, NBC, Bravo, Bravo TV, reality TV, fight, lawsuit, lawyers, mistreatment
Bethenny Frankel has spent the summer calling out her former employer. (Photo: Getty)

In addition, former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville is upset with Shed Media, the production company behind The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip due to allegations in the media that she inappropriately touched her co-star Caroline Manzo while filming the show in Morocco. The allegations have not been proven.

“We believe [our] standards have promoted a safer and more respectful work environment,” Berwick continued in the memo. “That said, we want to take the opportunity in collaboration with the production companies to continue to strengthen our approach. To that end, we have developed additional resources, policies and protocols that will further enhance the workplace environments on our third-party productions and will strengthen our oversight.”

In short, its been an interesting year at the network, to say the least. As huge fans of the network, it is great to hear that NBCUniversal is taking these situations seriously.

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