“I saw that there was a pill bottle thrown at the reunion. … Somebody said, ‘Do you want a Xanax? I have a Xanax.’ And that was sort of made light of and I sometimes think about that. This is effectively — it’s a non-traditional workplace, but I would imagine there are even some workplace rules in a strip club — it is still a workplace. And I thought a pill bottle’s being thrown? ‘Wow. OK,” Frankel said on the Friday, August 18, episode of her iHeartRadio podcast, referring to Tom Schwartz taking out his pill bottle during the special. “I’ve read that Andy said to, I think, Variety that he thought that you were medicated … insinuating that you were on prescription drugs. So how did that make you feel?”
Leviss revealed that she started taking medication “around the time” she joined the cast of Vanderpump Rules in 2015. She began making appearances on season 5 when she started dating James Kennedy.
“I mean, I am medicated. I’ve been on antidepressants for several years now,” Leviss, who completed 90 days of mental health treatment this summer, said. “But to say that I must be heavily medicated because my behavior was erratic, or I didn’t have emotions, is not OK in my eyes. I feel like that violates some sort of HIPAA law. And to make assumptions like that, it’s damaging to a person.”
Cohen, who has made it clear that he is no longer a producer on Vanderpump Rules, hosted the intense post-Scandoval reunion in March. HIPAA, The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a federal law created to protect patients’ medical records from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. It applies to healthcare professionals.
“An employer cannot say that a person that works for them is medicated. I mean, I know that that’s a private piece of information,” Frankel alleged. “Whether it was true or not — or speculation — I just don’t know where the line is. That’s what I’m kind of that reunion.”
The Real Housewives of New York City alum has been outspoken about reality TV standards in light of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
“And this is why people are saying to me, ‘Why are you doing this? Why are you biting the hand that feeds you?’ I’m the shining golden child that got out and made the money. [Bravo] would have had me back at any time to make millions of dollars to be on these shows,” Frankel said. “Something about [the Vanderpump Rules reunion] jumped off the page to me, like, ‘This is where the line is crossed.’ And the fact that the viewers digested what was said to you … I don’t think they really realized what they were digesting because it’s become the norm now.”
Cohen originally made the comment about Leviss’ state of mind at the reunion to Variety in June.
“I was worried for Raquel’s mental health going into the reunion. I mean, I still am. But actually, when I saw how unemotional she was, it made me think she was really medicated or really out of touch with her role in everything,” he said. “When Scheana [Shay] is crying her eyes out and [Raquel] says in the trailer, ‘I should have written her a note’ — I found that very confusing and it made me think that, maybe, there was something she was missing about what these relationships were. It made me think that, maybe, she didn’t think they were as real as the other people thought. I didn’t understand.”
The host later admitted that it was “wrong of me to speculate” about Leviss.
“But to me, she sat there [and] she took it all on the chin like a champ. Those people all had stuff to say to her and they were relentless and she just sat there and took it,” Cohen said on Radio Andy that same month. “I didn’t know that she would be able to [get through the reunion] which is probably why I hypothesized [that]. Given my years of experience in these forums, I would’ve thought that she would’ve walked off way sooner and maybe walked into her car never to having been seen again.”
Leviss confirmed to Frankel this week that she would not return to Vanderpump Rules for season 11, which is currently in production.