LeeAnne Locken Says Her Racially Insensitive Comments Were 'Ignorant' and Vows Never to Do It Again
"In my mind I was ignorant, and I didn't understand the power of that word," LeeAnne Locken said of referring to Kary Brittingham as a "chirpy Mexican"
During part one of The Real Housewives of Dallas reunion on Wednesday, host Andy Cohen confronted Locken about her comments, of which she referred to Brittingham as a “chirpy Mexican” and a “Mexican” multiple times, and asked how she felt about her actions.
“I feel like it’s disgusting,” Brandi Redmond said. “Watching, I’m disappointed. I don’t want to be associated. I feel ashamed. And it’s not okay, LeeAnne. It’s not okay. And to use that over and over and over again is racism. I can’t imagine how Kary feels.”
“I know every bone in my body, and I know I don’t have a single bone that believes in discrimination,” said Locken, 52. “I believe in inclusion.”
“The first time in that hallway, I was in a headspace where I could not articulate myself very well,” she added. “Again I didn’t use my words well. I didn’t like it when I watched. You can see me slapping my face. Mentally, I was not present, and I was not putting my words together well.”
During the season finale in December, Kameron Wescott sat down with Locken and addressed the situation.
“There is something I need to get off chest,” Westcott told Locken at Brandi Redmond’s son’s first year celebration. “When we talk about Kary [Brittingham], you don’t always talk about her in a positive way. I really want you to explain to me why on Earth you said, ‘She’s a chirpy Mexican.’”
“I just felt horrible and felt like I needed to get it off my chest because I didn’t want to be fake to [Brittingham],” Westcott said of sharing Locken’s comments with Brittingham earlier that the evening.
(A rep for Locken did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, but she released a statement via Twitter, saying, “I am deeply sorry to those that I have hurt or offended with some of my comments on Real Housewives of Dallas Season 4. It was never my intention to hurt anyone and I will use this as a learning experience to be more aware of my comments in the future. My commitment moving forward is to continue my work fighting for equality and acceptance of all humans.”)
During the reunion, Locken did admit that the words she chose were “a mistake.”
“I agree that was an error,” she said. “I said things I should have never said. I shouldn’t have used those words. It was not a pretty look for me and I will never do it again.”
Fighting back tears, Brittingham said, “My kids are from Mexico, my family, and I can’t even look at her. She’s never once apologized to me.”
“I apologized at the finale party,” Locken responded.
“Yes at the finale party, but after that you’ve been making excuses the whole time about it,” added Brittingham. “You haven’t reached out once. After looking back at it yourself, how could you not even send me a text message saying, ‘Oh my gosh, now that I see it that’s horrible, Katy. I’m so sorry.’ You’re apologizing to everybody else but me. You are racist, LeeAnne.”
“In my uneducated brain, when we were filming, I believed there was nothing wrong for using someone’s nationality,” said Locken. “In my mind I was ignorant, and I didn’t understand the power of that word.”
Locken then revealed that she was really “unhappy” with herself after she realized the words she used were wrong.
“I’ve spent a lot of hours crying over this and realizing how horrible this was,” she said. “I really f— up. I really went into a hole. I was really upset and disappointed in myself.”
“I’m just very sad about it,” Brittingham added. “We’re in 2020 almost and to still be called a Mexican and be derogatory to somebody is not okay.”
Tearing up, Locken made her final apology and said, “I’m sorry. I really am.”