“Real Housewives of New Jersey” executive producer Andy Cohen and cast member Melissa Gorga have been hit with a defamation lawsuit seeking more than $30 million in damages by a woman who said she was made to look like a thief.
NBC Universal Cable is also named in the suit, filed in federal court in Florida on Wednesday.
In the suit, Jackie Beard Robinson, described as “an entrepreneur and international fashion influencer,” says that she was tapped by Gorga in 2015 to serve as manager of Envy by Melissa Gorga, which operated a boutique clothing store in New Jersey.
The partnership went south, the suit says, after Robinson discovered that Gorga “misappropriated over $37,000 from Envy without authorization, among other things,” and Robinson removed her merchandise from Envy in January 2017.
An agreement was hashed out that Robinson could sell the merchandise and keep the proceeds, according to the suit. However, Robinson contends, a very different picture of the situation was painted by Gorga and Cohen months later.
According to the suit, during the Oct. 4 airing of “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” Gorga stated that Robinson “snuck in in the middle of the night and took all he clothes.”
Compounding things, the lawsuit says, during the Oct. 4 airing of Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live,” Cohen asked,”wow, so that lady wound up kind of ripping you off?” According to the suit, Gorga responded, “yes.”
Those assertions are false, the suit says, in part because Robinson retrieved the merchandise “in broad daylight, not during ‘the middle of the night.’ The statement that Plaintiff ‘snuck in in the middle of the night’ is false, misleading, reckless, grossly negligent, negligent and made with actual malice.”
The statements also “subjected Plaintiff to ridicule, hatred, disgust and contempt.”
The suit alleges numerous forms of defamation.
TheWrap has reached out to Cohen, Gorga and eNBC Universal for comment.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.