Two cast members of the US reality TV show Vanderpump Rules have been sacked over a prank on a black co-star.
US network Bravo has cut ties with Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute, who have appeared in all eight seasons.
It comes after a black former cast member, Faith Stowers, revealed that the pair called the police on her for a crime she didn’t commit.
The pair have both apologised, adding they did not appreciate the impact their actions could have caused.
Two other cast members have also been relieved of their duties, after past racist tweets emerged.
“Bravo and Evolution Media confirmed today that Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni will not be returning to Vanderpump Rules,” the network said in statement, obtained by Variety.
Vanderpump Rules, which has been running since 2013, is a spin-off from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills series, and features Lisa Vanderpump and the staff at her restaurant in Hollywood.
‘My privilege blinded me’
During an Instagram Live chat last week, Stowers said that Schroeder and Doute misled police in an attempt to get her into legal trouble in 2018.
She said the pair had reported her for a spate of thefts allegedly committed by another black woman they had seen pictured in a newspaper report.
“There was this article on Daily Mail where there was an African-American lady,” Stowers explained.
“It was a weird photo, so she looked very light-skinned and had these different, weird tattoos. They showcased her, and I guess this woman was robbing people.
“And they called the cops and said it was me. This is like, a true story. I heard this actually from Stassi during an interview.”
Schroeder discussed the incident during a podcast recording in 2018 and acknowledged calling the police.
At the time, Doute appeared to refer to Stowers in a tweet about the newspaper article, commenting that the woman looked “familiar”, before later deleting it.
Further examples of Schroeder appearing to make racially insensitive comments on another podcast, which has since been deleted, have also re-emerged.
In one she declares that she’s “sick of everybody making everything about race” and that she is “kind of over it”.
Discussing the OscarsSoWhite campaign, which highlighted the lack of diversity among Academy Award nominees, Schroeder said: “Maybe you weren’t nominated because you didn’t do that great of a job in your movie. Like, it’s not about race. It’s literally like not about what you look like at all. It’s like your acting ability.”
‘Ashamed and embarrassed’
The comments have returned to the public arena now, after mass Black Lives Matters protests took place across the US and beyond, following the death of a black American George Floyd, while in police custody.
After Stowers’ comments went viral on social media, both Schroeder and Doute apologised.
“It is important that I continue to take accountability for what I have said and done, while pushing myself to do better,” wrote Schroeder.
She added she “did not recognise then the serious ramifications that could have transpired because of my actions”.
Doute posted that she has been “taking some time to really process what I’ve been seeing, feeling and learning”.
“I feel ashamed, embarrassed and incredibly sorry. I will do better, I have to do better,” she said.
“Although my actions were not racially driven, I am now completely aware of how my privilege blinded me from the reality of law enforcement’s treatment of the black community, and how dangerous my actions could have been to her.”
After the pair were fired, Stowers said: “I feel so vindicated studios and production are able to see blatant racism and make these positive changes and help with the fight forward.
“Bravo is releasing women that have given them crazy ratings because they want to be on the right side of history, and I’m seeing [that] people are finally hearing us.”