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In the wake of multiple sexual assault allegations against Thomas Ravenel, he is under investigation by the network and by law enforcement.
Bravo addressed the accusations by not having him at the reunion. But his castmates were still there. And his absence definitely came up.
During Part 1 of the reunion special, Thomas' ex and baby mama, Kathryn Dennis, finally broke her silence on the investigation.
Though Kathryn goes on quite the face journey (we've included some of our favorite stills) during this clip, her actual words are . . . moderate.
"I’m not going to comment until it’s resolved," Kathryn says after Andy Cohen asks her what she thinks.
“What I am going to focus on," Kathryn explains. "Is just the children and staying out of it."
Kathryn does acknowledge that she's spent time with Thomas, saying: "We’ve been trying to spend more time together in front of the children."
"So things are moving in the right direction the best as they can," she explains.
Kathryn's words may be almost neutral, but her face speaks of discomfort … and perhaps anger.
Andy Cohen read a statement to the group from Thomas' attorney.
"Along with Bravo," the statement reads. "Our client made the mutual decision not to attend today’s reunion taping as there is a pending investigation."
For Bravo, that's a decision of taste. For someone under police investigation, that's an issue of an attorney's advice — you never want your client talking about the case.
"Our client is fully cooperating with authorities on that investigation,” the statement claims.
“He expects to be completely vindicated once the investigation is concluded," the statement says. "He sends his best regards to his fans and his fellow castmates."
That was intensely awkward.
Andy then polls the group about how they feel about Thomas not being there.
Cameran Eubanks was quick to comment, saying: "I think it’s the right decision for him not to be here."
Any way that you look at it, she's right.
"I will say this," Shep Rose says. "90 percent of the time Thomas is funny, eccentric, jovial and then we’ve seen that there’s a side of him that’s not really him."
Shep exudes more raw Owen Wilson energy than anyone but Owen Wilson himself. It sounds like he's being very honest here.
"There's a big side of him that I really really love," Shep explains. "And a little part that I don't."
Naomie Olindo (who, not that this is relevant, really stood out with her subdued yet gorgeous appearance at the reunion) spoke up about how Thomas has always been nice to her, personally.
At the same time, she joins in, acknowledging that there is another side to him, that he can be — and Shep jumps in and supplies the word: "Volatile."
Many would point out that someone being nice to one person, or most of the time, does not make them actually a nice person.
Being nice to Naomie is great. There are a few different women who say that Thomas was anything but nice to them. And one of them has photos of injuries. That's something to consider.
Shep and Naomie may be in agreement, but we already know who isn't.
Thomas' girlfriend, Ashley Jacobs, will appear in the second part of the reunion special.
You can already guess her opinion as to whether or not Thomas is innocent.
"Of course, yes,” Ashley says in a preview of that special. “He has not be charged with anything."
"These," she says dismissively of the rape accusations from various women. "Are just allegations."
Kathryn Dennis may be Thomas' ex, but she also knew Nanny Dawn for years. For half of her very young children's lives, really.
It makes a lot of sense that she cannot — one way or the other — speak out about Thomas' allegations.
For many fans, while they know that a single false allegation of rape is statistically unlikely but still possible, they find it hard to believe that multiple women made this up.
Especially when one has photographs of injuries sustained during the alleged assault.
Others aren't convinced that the seemingly charming man they've seen on screen could sometimes be a monster when the cameras aren't rolling.
While Thomas' legal future hinges upon investigators, prosecutors, and a jury, his future on reality television may hinge upon whether viewers are willing to watch the show if he remains part of it.
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Jenelle Evans has a little habit of finding herself involved in a little bit of drama from time to time.
You may have noticed it.
She fights with her mother, she fights with whatever guy she's dating at the time (as well as all the guys she's dated before that guy and those guys' new girlfriends), she fights with her employers at MTV.
She even fights with dogs. For real, we've seen it on Teen Mom 2.
But even with that long, long history of violence and anger, one of the worst situations she's ever found herself in has to do with her second child, Kaiser, and the custody battle over him.
If you somehow missed the original news of that custody battle, or if you're wondering why we're talking about it again when there hasn't been news for several months now, well, just stick with us.
And maybe grab some tissues, because this is genuinely a horrific story.
1. Awww, Kaiser
2. Come On, Nathan
3. Grandma Doris to the Rescue
4. So Sad
5. Solid Parenting
6. Poor, Poor Kaiser
Extra host A.J. Calloway has been accused of sexual assault by Sil Lai Abrams, who is one of the dozen or so women who has come forward to accuse Russell Simmons.
In a newly published report, Abrams details her accusations against Calloway.
Now, Calloway has responded.
Sil Lai Abrams is an award-winning author and anti-domestic violence activist who has appeared across countless news networks over the course of her career.
And, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she accuses A.J. Calloway of having sexually assaulted her in the back of a car in 2006.
Abrams says that she met Calloway for a potential work opportunity while he was still a BET host. He was also married.
She says that, in the following weeks, he began hitting on her.
According to Abrams, her attempts to have strictly professional conversations with Calloway were met with attempts to instead discuss sex.
One night in December, Abrams recalls, Calloway exposed his genitals to her while he was driving her home after the two of them had gotten drinks.
Per Abrams’ recollection, Calloway said: “Do you see what you do to me?”
“Why don’t you do us both a favor and put that away?” Abrams suggested in response, attempting to diffuse the situation.
She says that, unfortunately, when they arrived at her house, he began kissing her and again exposed himself.
Calloway then allegedly tried to push her head into his lap.
According to Abrams, when that did not succeed, he took her hand, placed it on his penis, and used her hand to masturbate himself.
Abrams says that Calloway called her later that night and apologized.
It was only after confiding in friends that Abrams resolved to file a police report. Records show that she did just that.
As revealed by documents examinted by The Hollywood Reporter, Calloway was charged with forcible touching and attempted sexual misconduct offenses
Though NBC News had decided to not run Abrams’ story, The Hollywood Reporter did so after interviews with corroborating witnesses and after accessing and reviewing documents, text message records, and court orders.
Even so, Calloway has released a statement of his own.
In a statement from his lawyer, A.J. Calloway denies the accusations of sexual assault.
“I was disappointed to read the false allegations about me in The Hollywood Reporter,” Calloway says.
“As I have maintained from the beginning,” he continues. “These allegations are not true.”
Calloway insists: “When I was first notified about these allegations by law enforcement more than a decade ago, I fully cooperated from the beginning and the case was dismissed.”
He then takes aim at The Hollywood Reporter for not burying the story.
“THR chose to publish these meritless allegations,” Calloway’s statement reads. “Without a thorough investigation of the facts.”
Calloway concludes: “I intend to vigorously defend my reputation against these false accusations and will not let this cause further harm to my family.”
Sil Lai Abrams explains why she came forward about him and about disgraced music mogul Russell Simmons.
“I needed to tell my story,” Abrams says. “To say his name out loud, to let people know what he had done to me.”
She also says that she recorded an entire interview with Joy Reid for NBC News, but that the network decided to keep it under wraps.
“They took away my voice,” Abrams laments. “I want people to understand how incredibly challenging this is, with a story like mine that’s highly sourced, with me doing this [advocacy] work in the public arena.”
She says that she knows that sexual assault is difficult to even begin to prove, but that she has evidence to demonstrate that her claim is credible.
“If I didn’t have those things, let’s be very clear, no one would know about this today,” Abrams says. “I’m speaking out for all the other women who have been silenced, to let them know it’s not their fault.”
Our hearts of course go out to all survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Last week, Chris Hardwick was accused of emotional abuse and sexual assault by his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra. She didn’t name him, but readers were easily able to connect the dots.
Hardwick strongly denied the horrifying accusations, which included claims of intensely controlling behavior, of using her sexually, of sickening emotional manipulation, and of working to end her career after their breakup.
Now that a week has passed, Chloe is opening up about what the powerful responses to her story meant to her.
“It’s been an intense couple of days,” Chloe writes on Instagram. “I have a few final words to say before moving forward. The link is in my bio. Sending love to all.”
That link leads to Twitter, where Chloe prefaces her lengthy and heartfelt words.
“Thank you all,” she tweets. “From the bottom of my heart.”
This is when her actual message begins.
“Thank you all so, so much, Chloe writes. “The outpouring of support and love I’ve received over the past few days has been incredible and unexpected.”
Unexpected because so many women who accuse famous, popular men of misdeeds end up villified, harassed, threatened, and even doxxed by angry fans.
“The people who have come forward with both stories validating mine,” Chloe writes, she sends her thanks.
Many on social media responded by saying that they had been through an experience similar to the one that she described.
In addition to the validation, Chloe appreciates the people who sent “stories of their own personal experiences.”
That, she reveals, had a powerfully positive impact on her.
Chloe writes that those personal accounts “have helped me immensely with my own healing process.”
It can be powerfully therapeutic to realize that you are truly not alone in your experiences.
“After years of therapy and rebuilding,” Chloe writes. “Your support has done so much more for me than all of it combined.”
That makes sense, though we hope that her therapist doesn’t take it personally.
She is referring to a widespread phenomenon in which those who have been abused — whether it’s emotional abuse or brutal violence — second-guess their own experiences and almost try to convince themselves that what they describe wasn’t half bad.
Part of that is society’s pressures for survivors to keep silent. Part of that is the mind games that abusers play with their victims. Part of that is just human survival instincts run amok, basically.
“This whole experience has opened my eyes to so much,” Chloe’s post continues.
Chloe says that she has learned a lot, “and my heart goes out to those trapped in unhealthy or abusive relationships.”
She has sympathies for those “who haven’t found the strength to leave” these toxic situations.
That might sound victim-blamey, but it takes a tremendous amount of strength to break through the fog of manipulation and threats in which many abusers trap their victims.
Chloe also acknowledges “those suffering in the workplace due to abuses of power or unfair treatment.”
Not everyone can simply leave, and she knows that.
If you have a four-year-old child at home and you’re their only provider, you might grin and bear it as you get harassed or groped at work because you don’t feel like you have other options.
Her heart goes out to all of those people, “and especially to those that don’t feel their voice can be heard the way mine has.”
Chloe Dykstra has fans and followers, despite the alleged efforts to ruin her career after her breakup.
“It is my hope, and it always was,” Chloe writes. “That women and men on both sides of abuse will make changes to either protect themselves, or to stop the cycle of pain their own behavior can cause.”
Honestly, stop being awful is a very modest request of abusers.
“These behaviors are insidious and often hard to spot,” Chloe warns. “We make excuses for them and, bit by bit, we can lose ourselves entirely.”
“Despite recent events,” Chloe continues. “I hope that everyone personally affected by my story can to find their own closure.”
Closure can be a key part of recovery. It’s not always possible, but it’s helpful.
She suggests that they might do so “through the support of loved ones and friends, the way I have.”
Note that she doesn’t specifically identify family. She is probably very well aware that, for many people, family is the source of this nightmare, not the haven from it. That is so sad.
Chloe adds that “in addition, my heart goes out to those caught in the fallout.”
Sometimes, when you call out something bad that someone did, you lose friends or make things uncomfortable with others.
Some people lose half of their family when they flee their abuser.
Chloe feels that, even though doing so was absolutely terrifying, coming forward with her accusations was a huge weight off of her shoulders.
“Having been able to lift from my shoulders that which was weighing me down,” Chloe writes. “I’m ready to move forwards in my life, finally.”
That is so beautiful.
And moving forward is precisely what she intends to do “instead of looking back with fear and sadness.”
We wish her luck!
Chris Hardwick has broken his silence.
The podcast and television host is at the center of a very serious scandal this week after an ex-girlfriend named Chloe Dystrka wrote a troubling and personal essay about her relationship with Hardwick.
In this esay, Dykstra details how an unnamed former boyfriend (strongly presumed to be Hardwick) forced her to have sex against her will and treated her with absolute disdain.
The 29-year old brings up this ex-boyfriend’s “controlling behavior” and how “rules were quickly established” shortly after the two started dating, including how she could not be friends with men and could not drink alcohol.
“I was not to speak in public places (elevators, cars with drivers, restaurants where tables were too close) as he believed that people recognized him and were listening to our conversations,” she said.
Dykstra added she was “terrified to piss him off, so I did what he said. Including let him sexually assault me. Regularly,” explaining:
“I was expected to be ready for him when he came home from work. Every night, I laid there for him, occasionally in tears. He called it ‘starfishing.’ He thought the whole idea was funny.”
Everyone who has read this account, conversely, finds it horrifying.
In response to the accusations, Nerdist, a content company founded by Hardwick, confirmed on Friday that it had severed ties with Hardwick.
It also made it clear that Hardwick has not been active with the company for years.
Dykstra even emphasized this same point in a Tweet late Friday, writing:
Before I take my break, I do want to address something re: the company he founded. As I understand it, the person has not been associated with that company for several years, and I hope that they will not suffer as a result of my essay.
Be kind to them, they are good people.
Now, at last, Hardwick has spoken out about these disturbing allegations.
“I was heartbroken to read Chloe’s post,” he said to open a statement to Deadline, adding:
“Our three year relationship was not perfect – we were ultimately not a good match and argues – even shouted at each other – but I loved her and did my best to uplift and support her as a partner and companion in any way and at no time did I sexually assault her.”
Dykstra did add the following in her confession:
“To be fair, I did go along with it out of fear of losing him. I’m still recovering from being sexually used (not in a super fun way) for three years.”
So we’re not about to speculate about what actually transpired between these two, except to say that Hardwick could be trying to walk a fine line and deny the specific allegation of assault, considering (in his mind and sort of by her own admission), Dykstra did not fight back.
“These are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly which is why I’ve taken the day to consider how to respond,” Hardwick continued, expounding as follows:
“When we were living together, I found out that Chloe had cheated on me, and I ended the relationship.
“For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, ‘build a life’ with me and told me that I was ‘the one,’ but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful.
“I’m devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur. l was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her.
“As a husband, a son, and future father, I do not condone any kind of mistreatment of women.”
(Above, Dykstra poses with Hardwick in 2013; below, she poses on a red carpet alone.)
Dykstra also claims that Hardwick trash talked her following their split, effectively ending her career in Hollywood.
Following the release of Hardwick’s statement, actor Robert Kazinsky took to Twitter to defend Dykstra.
“As @hardwick has chosen to deny Chloe’s account, I’ll take the opportunity to say I have seen the proof myself, I have seen the evidence first hand, I’ve seen the people who have come forward to tell @skydart how Chris ordered her blacklisted, there isn’t just one, there are many.
“For years the pain @skydart carried around was overwhelming, and even now @hardwick doesn’t have the decency to offer first an apology to the woman he destroyed intentionally.
“That’s all that mattered.”
Dykstra also said in her extended message that she contemplated suicide “many times,” but is now a much healthier and happier place.
“To the man who tried to ruin my future: A sincere and heartfelt apology could have made my last four years a hell of a lot easier.”
Chris Hardwick’s been scrubbed from the Nerdist website he founded after accusations of emotional and sexual abuse by his ex-girlfriend, Chloe Dykstra, seem to clearly implicate him. Legendary Entertainment removed all references to Hardwick on the…