Update, Thursday, January 27, at 10:15 a.m.: Following her removal from Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, Jennie Nguyen took to Instagram Live on Wednesday, January 26, apologizing on one hand and digging herself a deeper hole with the other. People transcribed her entire apology “justification,” which begins, “I just want you to understand my point of view and where I come from and what’s going on during that time. I mean, it’s an old post on my account, it’s in 2020.” Nguyen then suggested that someone from her “team” with access to her socials might have posted some of these memes. “I just want you to understand during that time I had a team of people that were helping me,” she said. “Whether they post it, I post it, it doesn’t really matter at this point. For me, it’s on my account, and I take full responsibility and accountability for what was posted.”
“I know I hurt a lot of people,” she continued. “I know my viewpoint during that time in 2020 was emotional. And it brings back a lot of memories during that time when we went through such a tragic, terrible year. And I just want to let you know that I am taking full responsibility and accountability for the things that were posted on my account, whether it was me or somebody else.”
Nguyen then doubles down on her Republican beliefs, including her support of the police but not “the bad” ones: “I don’t tolerate violence. But I do support my law enforcement. I know with every profession, there’s good and there’s bad. I don’t support the bad. I don’t support the brutality of Black people or with any race. But I do support my law enforcement. But that doesn’t make me racist. To support my political stance, that does not make me a racist. And I want you to understand that. And whether I remember the posts in 2020, I don’t remember whether it’s on my account or not. We don’t remember what we ate yesterday, let alone two years ago. But, like, again, I take full responsibility.”
Later on in the Instagram Live, Nguyen said she understands “that the organization of Black Lives [Matter] meant for something” and “I understand that Black people have suffered a lot and went through a lot and dealt with a lot, more than any other race on this planet.” But then she seems to draw a parallel between police violence and viewing the police as victims.
“Police brutality is a very, very big topic … But again, you have policemen out there signing their life away every day to make a commitment to protect the community,” she said. “What about showing that appreciation?”
She argued that “that doesn’t make me racist. That’s making me compassionate for the people that are suffering. And I know a lot of people that are suffering without being involved with the movement,” before reaffirming her promises to “learn and adapt.”
Update, Tuesday, January 25, at 1:41 p.m.: After screenshots of dozens of offensive Facebook posts shared in 2020 by Real Housewives of Salt Lake City cast member Jennie Nguyen resurfaced on Imgur last week, Bravo has fired her from the reality series. The network released a statement Tuesday to announce the news with language suggesting that the cast has begun filming the third season, as previously reported. “Bravo has ceased filming with Jennie Nguyen and she will no longer be a cast member of ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.’ We recognize we failed to take appropriate action once her offensive social media posts were brought to our attention,” it reads. “Moving forward, we will work to improve our processes to ensure we make better informed and more thoughtful casting decisions.”
Original story follows.
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, like so many Real Housewives franchises, has a racism problem that’s getting too big to ignore. First, Mary Cosby spent two full seasons making racist comments on camera about Asians, Mexicans, and Black people (Cosby is African American). Cosby posted quite the apology for her racist statement calling Mexicans “thugs” during a December episode of the Bravo reality series but evaded any further reckoning for her comments by skipping the season reunion.
Now, viewers have unearthed dozens of (now deleted) Facebook posts with anti-Black, anti-BLM, pro-Trump, pro–Blue Lives Matter, conspiratorial, and anti-vaxx messaging shared by RHOSLC’s Jennie Nguyen in 2020. Nguyen, who is Vietnamese American, is the show’s newest cast member, and she herself has been the subject of racist mocking by Cosby. On January 19, a Reddit user with the handle MontyBurner posted an Imgur album of 42 screenshots of offensive posts and memes shared by Nguyen on her Facebook page in 2020. The posts (which were shared but not created by Nguyen) range from standard-issue Republican quackery to some really vile imagery and language. A number of these are disturbing, including many posts sharing derogatory misinformation about George Floyd following his murder. Other lowlights include:
• An Islamophobic meme falsely claiming Colin Kaepernick is Muslim and using that to insult his NFL protests
• A pro-gun meme with Boogaloo-adjacent language that says, “wait til 2021 pops off with a civil war and y’all gun haters have to defend your house with a spatula and dildo”
• A Blue Lives Matter flag
• A post full of Q-adjacent language about Trump busting trafficked children and pedophile rings
• A post supporting a BLM counterprotest in which one member is wielding a Confederate flag …
… And you get the idea. Insider reported that later that day, Nguyen had deleted the posts from her Facebook page, and she issued an apology on her Instagram, writing, “I thought I was speaking out against violence, but I have since learned how offensive and hurtful my words were. It’s why I deactivated that account more than a year ago and why I continue to try to learn about perspectives different from my own.”
Some of Nguyen’s castmates have since responded to the contents of the deleted posts. On Thursday, Jen Shah posted a condemnation to Instagram. “I must now stand up, on behalf of my husband and sons who are African American, to say that I am deeply offended by the racially insensitive posts and comments,” Shah wrote. “It was infuriating to see her like and repost comments that made a mockery of and showed complete apathy toward those killed marching to bring awareness to the deep-seeded social justice issues that plague our country.” Shah also called Nguyen’s apology “disingenuous.”
Lisa Barlow on Thursday tweeted the vague message, “Things get addressed.”
Two days later, Barlow posted a statement to Instagram expressing “disappointment” and saying she does not “condone” or align with Nguyen’s posts, but does not mention her by name. “The posts were harmful and hurtful to a community I love,” wrote Barlow, “My heart hurts for those hurting.”
On Friday, cast member Whitney Rose weighed in with her own statement, writing, “Recent events have reminded me of the importance of always leading with LOVE, light and kindness. It is NEVER ok to blatantly make, comment, post, and/or share any type of racially charged & derogatory statements/posts.” Rose doesn’t mention Nguyen by name in the statement but says she “was shocked and saddened at the things that have surfaced online.”
Meredith Marks also posted Friday, sharing a Martin Luther King Jr. quote and writing, “Negative commentary rooted in prejudice regarding one’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, or gender is vile and should never be tolerated.” This post also does not mention Nguyen by name.
Heather Gay posted her statement to Instagram Friday night, saying she was “deeply shocked, saddened and disappointed by the blatantly racist and derogatory statements reshared” by an unnamed castmate, but does not mention Nguyen’s name. Gay calls the posts and the language used “anti-Black and violent rhetoric” and calls for people to do the work of “anti-racism.” Gay is one of the only cast members who put “Black Lives Matter” directly in their statement.
Also on Friday, former TMZ staffer Anthony Dominic shared a tweet saying a source told him that “Bravo is upset with Jen Shah for posting her message about Jennie, telling her it wasn’t ‘generic’ enough and she took too hard a stance. Her future on the show is in jeopardy.”
Entertainment Tonight’s “Real Housewives correspondent” Brice Sander then tweeted, “No one’s been fired,” and said Nguyen’s posts “will” be addressed on the show, which is currently filming its third season. He added an addendum to this tweet writing that a source said “Jennie’s status as a cast member could totally change (it’s early days of filming) and the Housewife lineup is not finalized,” so it is not definitive or known yet whether Nguyen or Shah, who is in the midst of her own legal battle, will be cut from the final season-three cast or not. Vulture reached out to Bravo for comment but did not hear back at time of publishing.
Karlyn deserves better!