In a new piece titled ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta Bolo Leak Was a Fourth-Wall-Poking Power Play,’ Vulture highlights the impact B. Scott and ‘The B. Scott Show’ podcast have made in both this past season of ‘RHOA’ and the reality TV landscape as a whole.
Check out an excerpt:
“We had been informed that Tanya Sam and Porsha Williams were placed in the room, under suspicion of a ménage à trois with the guest of honor. And we knew that newcomer LaToya Ali was somehow involved, alleged to have been engaging in same-sex carnal interactions either before or after the events in question. We knew this because on the October 2, 2020, episode of the B. Scott Show podcast, the well-connected internet personality announced an exclusive: “They gave Cynthia a bachelorette party, and from what I hear things got really spicy … evidently there were some well-endowed strippers that came and performed for Cynthia’s bachelorette party, and afterwards a couple of the ladies got it in with the strippers.”
While the leak had the upside of piquing audiences’ interest in the upcoming proceedings on the show — the episode featuring the bachelorette party had the season’s highest ratings — the bevy of information that was made available in the lead-up to the premiere, an increasingly common phenomenon, also usurped the shock and awe of seeing things play out within the show’s narrative. As the episode rolled live, various cast members posted the hashtag #itwasntme on social media in real time, accelerating tensions between the cast and frustrating the production company and Bravo. (Executive producer and reunion host Andy Cohen has gone on the record saying that when the cast starts “ broadcasting on social media or posting a lot of stuff from the trip,” he becomes “the guy who’s like, ‘Ugh! Stop posting this! It’s gonna feel stale when it comes out in six months!’”) Bolo-gate is one of the most tangible examples of this dynamic: The narrative arc percolated in public for months before it made its way to TV screens, and details initially leaked before Bravo could even allude to them in a trailer.
A few days after the B. Scott podcast episode dropped, it unearthed more details under the brazen headline “Porsha Williams and Tanya Sam Allegedly Got Their Peaches Cobbled by a Long Dong Stripper on RHOA Cast Trip.”
The story, which had also been picked up by “Page Six” and other outlets, went viral and got immediately dissected by an apparatus of dedicated Instagram accounts, podcasts, blogs, and traditional gossip media hyperfocused on shows like RHOA. The sleuthing and reporting of such digital correspondents — Funky Dineva, B. Scott, DJ Richie Skye, Tamara Tattles, All About the Tea, among many others — have made the reality TV show’s fourth wall increasingly porous; they track such picayune details as social-media follows and blocks to gauge cast alliances between seasons, and leak contract renewals and cast-status updates that become necessary context for understanding onscreen tensions, past and present: Are NeNe and Kandi at odds because of an issue that has played out on the series, or because of ongoing qualms around spinoffs and marketability on the Bravo network?
In February, the Bolo leak finally surfaced on Housewives during the season’s tenth episode, “Front Page News,” after months of buildup — and questions about the show’s ethics around privacy. After Cynthia’s sister Malorie revealed that news of the bachelorette party leaked to “Page Six,” a game of whodunit commenced as we watched the cast try to figure out the source for gossip reports from “Page Six,” All About the Tea, the Jasmine Brand, and Daily Mail as the notifications hit their phones. Kenya Moore, consummate archvillain, held “Bolo court” to dig into the crevices of the night in question. Kandi, who arranged the evening, was openly annoyed that details of her judgment-free space had been revealed to the public so soon.
The rest of the cast collectively assumed that Kenya was the leaker, partially due to her vocal criticism of the events in question — but also because of her known relationships with receptive outlets like TMZ and B. Scott, where the story originally emerged. Kenya, who had been having open tensions with Porsha and Tanya, had the perceived benefit of indicting both women for behavior she found reprehensible, centering herself in the main conflict of the season, and actively distancing herself from the evening’s alleged indulgences before it went to air. These suspicions were affirmed by Kenya’s friend Cynthia, who told curious producers, “I honestly don’t know who leaked the information to the press. Now, I know who was the most pressed, and I’m gonna leave it right there.””
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