Andy Cohen found himself in hot water after the premiere of The Real Housewives of Dubai season 1 trailer. The show, which is set to air its first episode on Wednesday, June 1, has quickly become a controversial topic as human rights organizations continue to condemn the series and demand Bravo publicly declare they disagree with certain laws and practices in place in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.
A group of 12 separate organizations banded together and sent a statement to Bravo, as well as executives from NBCUniversal and the Truly Original production company.
“We are deeply concerned by your decision to produce and launch the latest edition of the Real Housewives series in Dubai,” the letter read. “Dubai is an absolute monarchy that is part of the dictatorship of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). By setting the Real Housewives franchise inside Dubai, you are helping the UAE dictatorship hide its male rulers’ misogyny, legalized homophobia, and mass violence against women.”
The letter continued on to request that if the show is to move forward, the groups are asking the network to consider a series of steps to shed light on the problems in the UAE rather than sweep them under the rug with the glamorous reality series.
The first step was to “reveal whether the rulers of Dubai and the UAE funded or financed the Real Housewives of Dubai in any way.” They also asked that Bravo “run a disclaimer” at the beginning of every episode stating Bravo opposes “the UAE and Dubai dictatorship’s misogyny, homophobia, women’s rights violations, and war in Yemen.”
The letter also asked RHOD to donate some of their profits to independent human rights organizations that are currently fighting against the UAE and Dubai’s human rights issues, and to teach their fans how they can “stand up for women’s rights and LGBTQ equality.”
The statement went on to detail several incidents of human rights violations including a Dubai ruler’s domestic abuse, an incident where a ruler kidnapped his own adult daughters who tried to escape the Emirates and how rape accusations are often ignored.
“As these examples reveal, the dictatorship of the United Arab Emirates and Dubai is a deeply flawed choice for the Real Housewives series,” the letter said as it neared its conclusion. “By producing and launching the Real Housewives of Dubai, you risk providing the rulers of the UAE and Dubai with the soft propaganda they need to hide their human rights crimes from the world.”
The statement was signed by Freedom Forward, Action Corps, Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, CODEPINK, European Centre For Democracy and Human Rights, FairSquare, Health Advocacy International, Human Rights Sentinel, Just Foreign Policy, Last Mile4D, Peace Action and ReThinking Foreign Policy.