Legal Battle Looms: Bravo Urged to Drop Intimate Recording Discussion

Legal Battle Looms: Bravo Urged to Drop Intimate Recording Discussion

Changing tactics. Rachel Leviss went on the offensive this past week. She filed a revenge porn lawsuit against her former lover, Tom Sandoval, and his ex-girlfriend, Ariana Madix.

Rachel Leviss

It was a shocking turn of events that no one saw coming. And given her change in lawyer, and a look at the legalities behind the action, it’s clear the former Vanderpump Rules star is done laying low.

The lawsuit suggests the network “sanitized the story”
The revenge porn lawsuit, which was filed by her current legal team, Bryan Freedman and Marck Geragos, does not include Bravo, NBC Universal, or Evolution. However, Rachel’s attorney’s are making an argument as part of their case that the network, “sanitized the story to ensure Leviss would be seen as the arch-villian.”

The lawsuit claimed that Sandoval insisted elements of his final scene with Rachel at her apartment on March 4, 2023 were edited out. Namely that, “Leviss confronted Sandoval for secretly recording pornographic videos of her and storing them unprotected on his phone.”

According to media reports cited in the lawsuit, the Schwartz & Sandy’s co-owner was, “granted editing rights over the scene. Shockingly, Bravo and Evolution obliged his demand. The scene was selectively edited to omit any mention of Sandoval’s illicit recording or Leviss’ lack of consent.”

“This was part of a pattern and practice of Bravo and Evolution throwing Leviss under the bus in favor of Sandoval,” the statement continued. “Recording someone engaged in sex acts without their consent is a crime, and Sandoval appears to have admitted it on camera. Portraying the confrontation as it actually occurred instead of protecting sleazy Sandoval would not only have been truthful, it would have also been ‘good television.’ But Bravo and Evolution apparently decided that Leviss would be their sacrificial lamb.”

Rachel’s former attorney said discussion would be “inappropriate”

A year ago, and under different legal counsel, Rachel asked MGM, Evolution’s parent company not to air any discussion about the intimate recording that Sandoval took of her without her knowledge or consent. In a letter reviewed by Variety from March 6, 2023, Lawrence M Kopeikin, the VPR alum’s former attorney called it the “right thing” to do.

“Giving life to a recording that was illegally obtained by allowing discussion of it on-air would be tantamount to rewarding someone for robbing a bank or shooting someone,” he wrote. “We would hope that Evolution and Bravo have sufficient character and restraint to not air any discussion of this illegally obtained recording.”

Sandoval was named in the letter as having “illegally” recorded “an intimate Facetime exchange,” with “one or more cast members” having “shared this recording among themselves, which is a violation of several California statutes, including without limitation, California Penal Code Section 647(J)(4) (the so-called ‘revenge porn’ law).”

While Rachel’s former attorney knew “that Bravo would not air any part of this recording (whether blurred or pixelated or otherwise obscured) since that could subject Evolution/MGM and Bravo to possible civil and criminal liability,” he added it would be, “inappropriate for Evolution and Bravo to put on air any discussion among the cast of this illegally obtained recording.”

“We would hope that Evolution and Bravo have sufficient character and restraint to not air any discussion of this illegally obtained recording,” Kopeikin continued. “This is especially important given the nature of this illegally obtained recording. Once you’ve had an opportunity to discuss this with Evolution and Bravo we would appreciate your confirming that discussion of this illegally obtained recording will not be aired on the show.”

The new legal team responds

So it’s a contradiction in strategy between one legal team and another. When asked to comment on why they are naming the network in the lawsuit, Rachel’s current lawyer, Freddman responded, “Clearly, you do not understand what this case is about.”

They continued: “If you did understand the actual legal claim, you would not be asking questions about a letter sent to a production company that is not even named as a defendant in the complaint.

“This case is about revenge porn arising from illegally recording and disseminating a sexual video without the knowledge or consent of our client. It is not only a civil wrong but likely a crime.”

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