Bravo has justified avoiding diversity on its Real Housewives shows by saying they "follow groups of friends who are organically connected, often through long, pre-existing relationships but in some cases only casually through a wider social circle or six degrees of separation.” "In other words, the racism isn’t Bravo’s problem. It’s America’s reality," says Molly Schwartz. "Bravo’s lack of diversity is part of the vast ecosystem from which these shows emerge. Bravo is essentially a platform for selling advertisements. In the case of Vanderpump Rules, brands like Procter & Gamble—the same company that’s now calling on white people to 'use your power' to combat racism—have bankrolled the cast for years, essentially subsidizing them to behave in ways that now justify firing them." In referring to Bravo's firings last month of Vanderpump Rules stars Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni for past racially offensive behavior, Schwartz says they were enabled by Bravo's reality TV structure. "These reality shows are not just stages for a few exhibitionistic cast members," says Schwartz. "There is a large infrastructure of advertisers, producers, showrunners, story editors, publicists, and network executives supporting them. And while firing some prominently offensive cast members may appear to address the problem, it doesn’t address the root causes. I reached out to a veteran Bravo producer, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid serious retributions for breaking their nondisclosure agreement. They told me that Bravo’s target audience is semiprofessional women in their 20s to early 40s and gay men. 'Were we asked as Bravo employees to cater to a certain demographic and marginalize people of color?' they said. 'Yes. Because it didn’t fit the brand.' They told me that on an early season of Vanderpump Rules there were two major storylines involving people of color; both got cut because they weren’t 'marketable,' which was in keeping with the instructions to producers and editors to 'cut for our audience.' The producer recounts not being allowed to include hip-hop music cues for the club scenes because it was 'not the tone for the show.' The cast members who appeared on the show were given the spotlight, incentivized with more screen time, and praised for having no filter while saying deeply troubling things. The producer said that even more offensive comments than the ones that have come into public view recently hit the cutting-room floor over years of filming. 'We have to make them seem human,' they said. 'We cut out that sh*t to make them seem not like sociopaths and relatable…We have to think about them like characters.' The producer notes that there are people of color with prominent roles on Bravo’s crew. There are also many people of color working at Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants. And yet, season after season, the cast of Vanderpump Rules are almost exclusively white."