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Andy Cohen Files to Dismiss Leah McSweeney’s Lawsuit

Andy Cohen Files to Dismiss Leah McSweeney’s Lawsuit

Andy Cohen has filed to dismiss Real Housewives star Leah McSweeney‘s lawsuit alleging workplace discrimination and alcohol- and drug-related favoritism.

About three months after McSweeney sued Cohen, the Bravo producer asked a judge to dismiss her previous claims that she had experienced a “hostile work environment” during her time with the TV franchise, including sex/gender and disability discrimination, according to court documents obtained by People magazine on Friday.

In her lawsuit filed in February against Cohen, Bravo, Shed Media and other subsidiaries, McSweeney alleged that Bravoland was a “rotted workplace culture that uniquely depended on pressuring its employees to consume alcohol.” The suit also claimed that producers “colluded with her colleagues to pressure Ms. McSweeney to drink,” knowing she struggled with an “alcohol use disorder,” and “retaliated against her when she wanted to stay sober.”

Cohen’s new court documents stated that McSweeney’s allegations are “threadbare” and should be “dismissed as a matter of law.” It also said that her discrimination claims “impermissibly seek to abridge Defendants’ First Amendment rights to tailor and adjust the messages they wish to convey in their creative works, including through cast selection and other creative decisions.”

The defendants also stated that they’ve never intended to use the Real Housewives franchise to “feature inebriated cast members,” however, decisions within casting and directing would be within their First Amendment rights.

“‘Whatever messages’ Defendants ‘communicate or intended to communicate’ with their shows is protected by the First Amendment,” the file to dismiss continued. “Judicial intervention into casting decisions for expressive works impermissibly regulate[s] [Defendants’] right to alter the content of the story [they] tell — or choose not to tell.”

The documents also addressed McSweeney’s claims that she faced gender/sex-based harassment by Cohen through text messages. In response, Cohen’s filing invoked Title VII and the New York City Human Rights Law, stating that her allegations were “untimely” and had surpassed the statute of limitations.

McSweeney’s attorney responded to Cohen’s latest court filing in a statement to People.

“We do not agree that the motion has merit — it mostly argues for dismissal on technical grounds essentially saying that Defendants were allowed to discriminate against Ms. McSweeney — not that they did not do it,” Sarah Matz told the outlet on the reality star’s behalf. “To agree with the Defendants would be to essentially say that the creative industries are not subject to anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation laws and that networks could engage in discrimination and retaliation with impunity, which is not the law.”

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Earlier this month, in a cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, Cohen spoke about McSweeney’s allegations as well as others the Real Housewives franchise has faced in recent years.

“We don’t force anyone to do anything,” he said at the time. “But no one is secretly hiding liquor bottles on set. That’s ridiculous. We’ve been very supportive of people’s sobriety.”

He added later in the interview, “Obviously, it’s no fun to be a target. So, yes, it’s hurtful. But I have no regrets about the way I’ve handled anything. I think everything that happens in your life informs the next thing that happens in your life. That’s the way I look at all this. I know what the truth is and I know how I’ve conducted myself, and I walk tall every day on that.”

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