‘RHONJ’: Margaret Josephs and Jackie Goldschneider Call Out Teresa Giudice’s Antiquated View of Sexual Harassment in Season 11 Reunion
Reality television is known for its love of drama and showcase of seemingly “first world problems.” The tremendously successful The Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHONJ) is especially notorious for stars perceived as out-of-touch or over-dramatic. Still, despite its history as mindless entertainment, the productions often use their platforms to investigate hard-hitting issues that affect celebrities and their fans alike.
The latest season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and its subsequent reunion tackled some tough issues. While some stars shared deeply emotional and personal experiences of sexual harassment, Teresa Giudice’s take on the issue left much to be desired.
Season 11 featured a startling admission from Margaret Josephs
The eleventh season of the classic Real Housewives of New Jersey television show began airing on Bravo in February. Each of its thirteen episodes were viewed by over a million fans of the drama. Who could resist the returning antics of such characters as Margaret Josephs, Teresa Giudice, Melissa Gorga, Dolores Catania, Jennifer Aydin, and Jackie Goldschneider?
Before the season wrapped in mid-May, audience members were treated to plenty of laughs, disses, and even a few heartfelt admissions. In an interview with People, leading lady Margaret Josephs opened up about uncomfortable pressure early in her career. The experience also played a role in RHONJ, with Josephs confessing to her co-stars that she slept with her boss.
Although the admission scandalized many, Josephs can now look back with a fresher perspective and be kind to her young self. “It was a weird dynamic and it was a very different time,” Josephs is quoted as saying. As a young woman hoping to make it in the fashion industry, Josephs felt incredibly pressured and worried that her career success was on the line.
The season’s reunion tackled sexual harassment
Josephs’ experience aligns with many recently shared by big names in Hollywood. The #MeToo social movement has allowed women to expose unequal power dynamics that led them to uncomfortable encounters and coerced actions. Because Josephs’ story played a large role in the eleventh season of the show, sexual harassment was inevitably discussed at the reunion.
Host Andy Cohen turned to Jackie Goldschneider, who spent many years as a powerful lawyer. He asked, “Did you ever experience sexual harassment?” Goldschneider admitted that she had, citing bosses who would massage her shoulders while talking to her in the workplace.
Teresa Giudice seemed shocked by this news, asking, “You let them?” Goldschneider explained that she didn’t want to get fired, and worried that if she called them out her future with the company would be in jeopardy. This prompted shocked laughter from Giudice, and all eyes turned to her.
Teresa Giudice lacked compassion and angered fans
Cohen followed up the tense exchange by asking Giudice if she herself had ever been a victim of sexual harassment. Giudice was adamant that “nobody would put their hands on [her].” While Cohen clarified that being sexually harassed isn’t a result of being weak, Giudice clarified, “I’m just saying nobody would touch me unless I want them to.”
Her co-stars were understandably frustrated and attempted to explain the victim-shaming undertones of Giudice’s comments. Unfortunately, the TV personality seemed intent on digging her own grave, continuing, “I’m just saying … I’m talking about me. There are women that are intimidated by their bosses. I’m just saying with me, it would not happen.”
The reunion sparked an online debate about the issue and left Josephs incredibly frustrated. She pointed to attitudes like Giudice’s as a reason for women to not come forward. Hopefully, the conversation helped many take a step back and re-evaluate the power at play in workplace scenarios.