"In a buffet of guilty pleasures, Bravo’s reality shows present a somewhat sinister conundrum: The things we should feel guiltiest about are done in real life, by real people," says Bridget Read of the cable network's existential crisis in the wake of firing of four Vanderpump Rules stars and a star of Below Deck Mediterranean for racial offenses. "If the viewers are truly taking a zero-tolerance stance toward racism and all types of bigotry, what must we decide about whether to continue watching these shows, reliant as most of them are on white people behaving very, very badly?" says Read. "This existential crisis was already looming last November over the first BravoCon, a three-day convention in New York that I attended nearly every hour of (for journalism). It was a mass of almost exclusively white women, ecstatically gathered like congregants in a rosé-soaked megachurch. The friction between the frivolous unreality of the shows — heavily edited and produced, about people encouraged to act in outsize ways — and the sobering fact that these were real human beings was already uncomfortable. Not to mention how much money Bravo and the stars were clearly making from this behemoth enterprise, along with a satellite ecosystem of podcasters and bloggers." Read adds: "Now I can’t get the bad taste out of my mouth. The idea that we can keep watching Bravo without thinking, now that more of us than ever are finally doing just that — thinking, about how the concepts of racism and anti-Blackness play out in real life — has fully soured. In a buffet of guilty pleasures, Bravo’s reality shows present a somewhat sinister conundrum: The things we should feel guiltiest about are done in real life, by real people. (Kristen) Doute’s and (Stassi) Schroeder’s actions were not written into a script for characters in a drama, for which a white writers’ room could be held to account; they make money directly from playing themselves."