Bethenny Frankel Under Fire After Reportedly Suggesting Black Women Should Hire White Men to Rep Their Businesses
The Real Housewives of New York City star reportedly made inflammatory remarks at a women's entrepreneurial summit
Bethenny Frankel has created quite a stir over comments she reportedly made at a women’s entrepreneurial summit over the weekend.
According to an entrepreneur named Mary Pryor, who attended Rent The Runway’s and UBS’s Project Entrepreneur, Saturday in New York City, Frankel, 45, made several inflammatory comments about women in business.
Though there is no recording of the event and a rep for Frankel did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, Pryor addressed the news via Twitter and later in a Huffington Post article.
“I was one of the women who tried to stand up to reality TV star and Skinny Girl Vodka founder, Bethenny Frankel … And was silenced,” Pryor wrote for HuffPo.
“I was stunned when Frankel implied that women should have sex with men in exchange for capital,” Pryor continued. “I was offended when she expressed some kind of kinship with black women because she’s ‘loud.’ And I was taken aback when she advised those of us in the room to get business advice to hire a white man as the face of our companies.”
According to Pryor, “many of the women of color in the audience turned their heads in shock” at the Real Housewives of New York City star’s reported comments.
In a series of tweets after the event, Pryor explained what happened when she attempted to speak out during the panel in regards to Frankel’s comments.
“#PEIntensive16’s keynote via @Bethenny was offensive and wrong NOT proper for a room full of female founders,” she tweeted. “I along with another ally of color stood up to address how offensive @Bethenny was to not just us but the entire room.”
“For @Bethenny to insist that a young, Black female founder ‘Find a white guy’ to rep her biz is a racial microaggression,” continued Pryor.
In her HuffPo article, Pryor claimed that “not even when the wrong-headedness was called to her attention, Frankel didn’t back down” and that Pryor’s attempts to speak out were shut down by moderators of the event.
“No apology. No acknowledgement of an ignorant reply. Just a comment from a moderator about ‘breaking up a fight’ and removing the mic from our hands,” Pryor wrote.
Pryor went on to slam the summit for not issuing an apology at the time to the women of color in the room that were offended by Frankel’s reported statements.
“For #PEIntensive16 to not issue an apology to the women of color in the room that were offended by her statement bothers me,” she tweeted. “I am tired of being asked to be present in the room for female founders events & have my voice SHUT DOWN.”
Project Entrepreneur later issued the following statement:
“We understand that guests were offended during our Day 1 luncheon, following remarks made by our speaker. This was not our intention and is contrary to our goals. We apologize to our guests. We launched Project Entrepreneur to champion all women. We thank those of you who candidly spoke out and welcome this important dialogue. We look forward to continuing to empower women entrepreneurs as they build their businesses.”