By now, you’ve probably gotten a six-minute-long voice memo from me about the firing of Jennie Nguyen, a one-season Real Housewives of Salt Lake City cast member who posted anti-Black, pro-policing memes on Facebook in 2020, one year before she joined the show. I don’t want to link or allude to them directly; they’re gross. It’s especially complicated because Jennie came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam as a child, and throughout the season, she’s been the target of anti-Asian slurs and impersonations from Mary M. Cosby, who is a Black woman (and an alleged cult leader who married and had a child with her step-grandfather Robert Sr).
Here are my truths on the matter.
Was Mary M. Cosby’s behavior vile, and did she actively refuse to learn from Jennie’s condemnation? Absolutely.
Was Mary M. Cosby a victim of trafficking by her late grandmother, hoping to consolidate power in the church, and is as a result, mentally unwell? Maybe.
And was Jennie, sometimes, while doing impressions of Mary, affecting her own sort of racist speech pattern? Definitely.
Did Jennie admit just a few nights ago in a talking-head confessional (while summing up a fight she had with Mary M. Cosby) that she had been in anger management classes for a year after breaking her husband Duy’s ribs in a fight? Yes.
Did Duy suggest they acquire a sister wife so he could have another child? Yeah.
Is Duy the worst househusband on the franchise? Not even close!!
Do you see why this is complicated? It’s all I care to talk about, and now, Nguyen, a day after her official firing, has vowed to speak her truth on her Instagram page.
But what is Jennie’s truth? I suppose we’ll find out tonight as we all gather around our step-grandpapa’s radio in the formal parlor and listen to Jennie’s crackling fireside chat. I hate to be a theorist of any sort, but in situations like there, I always wonder if the gag orders put on Bravo performers (as her castmate Jen Shah, who, let’s not forget did unsuccessfully attempt to dodge an arrest by Homeland Security in the Beauty Lab + Laser parking lot, suggested) have a lot more to do with producer intervention than we know.
I believe a lot of the fights that have been incomprehensible this season are because of a franchise-wide uneasiness in breaking the fourth wall. In an Everything Iconic podcast episode recapping RHSLC castmate Meredith Marks freaking the hell out at 7 a.m. for no apparent reason, host Danny Pellegrino suggests that a producer, not her castmate Lisa Barlow, fed her a piece of gossip that set the meltdown about her fah-ma-ly in motion. This is just the most recent example. I am of the inclination that this sort of production intervention happened for a decade, across all Bravo shows.
Jennie’s racist Facebook posts were from 2020; there is no way on earth, especially not in Salt Lake City, the holiest place on earth, that the ace production team at Shed Media didn’t vet her thoroughly enough to find these posts before, unless they have rightly divested from Facebook and refuse to do background checks on it as conscientious objectors. I have a hunch that Jennie’s “truth” is that her politics came up intentionally at the reunion, maybe even by Bravo overlord Andy Cohen himself, and one of her cast-enemies leaked screenshots early. Jennie’s “truth” will be that production was looking for a powerful, “diverse,” conservative woman, and the woke mob ruined it all for her. Jennie’s truth will be stupid, and you’ll have heard it here first, and also from the detectives and geniuses on the Real Housewives subreddit. And even though this is the least interesting thing that’s happened on this series, you’ll be hearing more from me.