Is it remotely possible to show love and support for Ariana Madix, while staying away from hating on Tom Sandoval and Raquel Leviss from Vanderpump Rules? Yes. Yes, it is.
The hate, social media attacks, and dragging of Sandoval and Leviss in the press have reached a fever pitch and perhaps everyone needs to cool it. Many people might disagree.
But when Sandoval recently displayed extreme exasperation on social media and Leviss apparently received death threats, maybe we all need to realize that Tom Sandoval did not cheat on us. Yes, Madix has every right to be disgusted with him and Leviss. And those directly involved should feel betrayed.
But for the rest of the fandom, media, and haters, maybe it is time we backed off. And this is why …
Reality TV personalities are real people
Tom Sandoval has become a household name as the persona non grata. The ultimate reality TV villain. And while his ample ego may likely hold him steady to weather the storm, bullying, and death threats, nonstop dragging can wear on just about anyone.
For instance, the cheeky Netflix series Instant Hotel, which was a sleeper hit during the pandemic, had dark undertones many fans may not realize. The competition series tracked teams of rental homeowners in Australia who compete to win the best property or “instant hotel.”
Some teams were painted as selfish or villains, whereas others were given more of a hero edit. Serena (de Comarmond) DC was on one of the teams that weren’t given the best edit and took a beating online. “So when I was on Instant Hotel it was a really negative experience,” DC told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in 2020. “Filming it was amazing, it was so much fun.”
“When [the show] came out we knew straight away, ‘Oh sh**’,” she recounted. “The way producers portrayed us was really negative. So for every 10 beautiful things you said, they would throw them in the bin and just save the negative ones. So when there’s only snark, you’re an a**hole. Basically, that’s what happened. I got trolled so badly when the show came out.”
‘Vanderpump Rules’ social bullying and death threats can have deadly consequences
Social trolling usually impacts the intended target in some way. DC’s backlash was painful, but for Instant Hotel cast member Shay Razaei, it was too much.
“So she was trolled so badly that three and a half weeks ago she overdosed and is now dead,” DC shared. “The experience was absolutely horrific.” DC started a new TV series focused on positivity. She was inspired to create the series after the death of her friend.
“But out of that became a rainbow,” DC said. She was determined to find something positive from the experience. “I decided after being on that show I wanted to create positive reality TV. I believe people put reality stars on a pedestal and people emulate their actions.”
“And so I thought it’d be nice if we actually had some stars on TV giving good positivity and trying to inspire people instead of trying to tear them down and make them feel inadequate,” she said.
So while Sandoval and Leviss did a horrible thing to someone who certainly did not deserve it, maybe we should remember what Lisa Vanderpump said to Sandoval as he sobbed in her house. He did a horrible thing but he is not a horrible person.
How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.