Bethenny Frankel Testifies Jason Hoppy Would 'Harass' Her During Her FaceTime Calls with Daughter
During a court hearing in New York City on Monday, Frankel, 48, was in tears as she was questioned by one of her attorneys, Ronnie Schindel, who presented a video of a past FaceTime call with Hoppy, 48, that the Real Housewives of New York City star recorded nearly four years ago.
On the May 9, 2015 call, Frankel asked to speak with 8-year-old Bryn, who was with Hoppy at the time, before he hung up the phone on the Bravo personality.
“I have a video I recorded. I was trying to FaceTime Bryn. And I experienced every day and every time I tried to do that, Jason using it as a tool to taunt and harass me. That day I recorded our correspondence — that weekend was Mother’s Day weekend, Bryn’s birthday and birthday party and celebration,” a visibly emotional Frankel said about the video.
“He sent me a series of abusive emails that day. He called me a wise ass, he mocked me, he said I needed to seek help and told me if I couldn’t control my behavior I shouldn’t come to her birthday party. Making me feel not welcome,” alleged Frankel, who went to the party later that day. “It was Jason’s party for her and Jason’s parents and friends surrounded her so I just stood back. … I’m the outsider.”
Her legal counsel then played the footage for the court. In the video, Frankel asked to “talk to Bryn for a minute,” and Hoppy said, “Keep recording me. Keep recording me. Okay, you lost your privilege for recording me,” before he hung up the call.
After the recording played, Frankel claimed that she would experience things like this “two times a day every day” until the order of protection was placed on Hoppy. “Jason would use FaceTimes to taunt me, laugh at me … harass me … torture and taunting every day.”
Also in May 2015, Frankel took a screenshot of a shirtless Hoppy FaceTiming with Bryn, which was presented in the court as evidence. Frankel testified this was “very typical,” and that “Jason would FaceTime Bryn and myself in what appeared to be no clothes on.”
The fourth day in court saw Frankel, whose boyfriend Paul Bernon was there supporting the Skinnygirl mogul, tell the judge that she has “tried everything” to have a positive relationship with Hoppy as they navigate raising their daughter apart.
“I have tried everything. I have tried a brave face, parent coordinating, pleading, ignoring, blocking, surrogates. I have tried everything to collaborate and work in the best interest of my daughter,” she said. “What is best for Bryn is the rational person making good decisions. Everybody just wants to protect their kids.”
She alleged that “Jason always finds a way to be destructive and not coordinating. If he can’t get through the door, he gets through the window. … He finds creative ways to torture me when no one is looking. He will always find a way to be menacing and try to hurt me and that is not the best interest of Bryn. He puts hurting me over making good decisions. He has made bad decisions since 2012 when he vowed to destroy my life.”
An attorney for Hoppy, who testified earlier this month, had no comment.
Additionally, Frankel also took responsibility for her misconduct prior to their 2014 custody hearing. She admitted in court that she told Hoppy “you’ll never see your daughter again,” called him “white trash,” and splashed water on him while he was sleeping.
Earlier this month, attorneys for the exes presented their respective cases: Frankel is seeking primary custody and full decision-making power over Bryn, while Hoppy wants to maintain the current joint custody arrangement.
On Monday, Frankel explained to the court that she is “looking for more physical time and ultimate decision making” with Bryn.
“Decision making has been impossible and tedious and not cooperative or reasonable process,” Frankel said of Hoppy. “Jason makes decisions based on what will hurt me or how he will feel he has won.”
Frankel and Hoppy have been fighting over custody of Bryn for years.
Then, things turned ugly. They separated in December 2012, and their protracted divorce was finalized in July 2016, though they’ve been stuck in messy court proceedings; she accused him of stalking and harassing her in 2017. Hoppy agreed to a plea deal in the case.
Earlier this month, Hoppy apologized to Frankel and admitted that the way he was previously contacting and talking to Frankel was “wrong and inappropriate.” (He said at the time that he now contacts Frankel through his surrogate every other day if he hasn’t heard from Bryn.)
Although Hoppy admitted to wrongful behavior, Frankel appears to be questioning his sincerity.
“I haven’t heard anything from Jason since the day he harassed me at Bryn’s school,” she said in court Monday about the January 2017 incident. “No apologies or remorse besides what happened here.”
And while he did attempt to speak with her during their last hearing, she implied in her testimony that the gesture was a publicity stunt.
“He and I were sitting in this room before the judge and then when the press piled in, Jason leaned over to me and said, ‘Bethenny let’s talk for Bryn,’ ” said Frankel, who claimed she had been sitting beside Hoppy for 10 minutes before press entered the court room.