NeNe Leakes Flees Virtual RHOA Reunion Before Being Implicated in SnakeGate: 'She Ran Scared'
The Real Housewives of Atlanta season 12 virtual reunion came to a shocking conclusion on Sunday, with NeNe Leakes closing her laptop at the top of the hour and refusing to return for the rest of show.
Her exit came minutes before Gail "Yovanna" Momplaisir appeared on the reunion and made a shocking claim about Leakes, alleging the O.G. Atlanta Housewife was the one behind "#SnakeGate."
The scandal dominated the drama throughout the first-half of this season of RHOA, after it was revealed someone in the group (dubbed "the snake") had secretly recorded Cynthia Bailey talking negatively about Leakes in a private conversation.
Audio of the chat turned out to be just hearsay, but not before Leakes pinned the entire controversy on Momplaisir, claiming she was "the one with the information." But according to Momplaisir on Sunday's reunion, it was actually Leakes who suggested she tape Bailey.
"I'm here to clear my name," Momplaisir said. "Not only did she ask me to record Ms. Cynthia Bailey, but she told me she wanted me to record every single body that's sitting right here. She wanted proof that everybody else is equally talking s--- about her the way she talks s--- about everybody else."
A rep for Leakes, 52, had no comment when reached by PEOPLE. But according to Momplaisir, Leakes had been trying to stop Momplaisir from exposing her, sending her "text messages, harassing phone calls from blocked numbers, and even a cease and desist from her attorney."
"In her cease and desist, her attorney's verbiage was that I needed to destroy any alleged audio that I might have on her that would portray her in a negative light or defame her character," Momplaisir claimed. "I don't know where she got that information from, I've never recorded NeNe. But clearly she's afraid of the truth coming out here today."
"She ran scared," said Kenya Moore, 49.
Momplaisir went on to detail her alleged conversations with Leakes, saying that Leakes had initially asked Momplaisir to spy on her pals when she was on the outs with the group.
"This is a situation in which I allowed my loyalty to a friend to get a little bit too far," Momplaisir said. "In the beginning... she was the one that was showing me the most love, she had my back. She saw that I started hanging out with the ladies and started establishing genuine friendships that she wasn't in a position anymore to do. And she saw it as an opportunity to find out if anyone was talking s--- about her."
"At that time I was like, 'Okay, that's innocent enough. If you want to find out people talking s---, I'm happy to tell you.' ... But this is where things changed. ... Once she realized that my words weren't good enough, she said she wanted proof of conversations. I'll be honest, I wasn't comfortable with that. It completely went against my moral being. But because she was so pressed and thirsty for more information, I basically told her what she wanted to hear."
Taking "full accountability" for the scandal, Momplaisir said she led Leakes to believe that she had actually recorded Bailey, but that she "really didn't."
"Obviously that's something I would never do," Momplaisir insisted.
RELATED: NeNe Leakes Says Her RHOA Costars Should Be Prepared for Explosive Reunion: 'I'm Coming for You'
Not everyone believed Momplaisir, with Porsha Williams, Tanya Sam, Marlo Hampton and even Kandi Burruss questioning why Momplaisir didn't fess up earlier — especially since she spent months denying her involvement.
"I don't know if that's true or not," said Williams, 38. "You admitted that you basically made up the story about the snake, you made up the story like you're doing now. ... If you saw that NeNe didn't have your back [before], why didn't you bring all of this up then? Why wait so long to come back now?"
"I was still trying to protect her," Momplaisir said of Leakes. "It was beyond me why she actually went and told you guys she had an audio when she had actually never heard one her damn self. ... The only reason I hadn't really said anything is because I didn't know that NeNe officially threw me under the bus."
That didn't satisfy Burruss, who pointed out that that Momplaisir was just as guilty.
"You're saying that [NeNe] was being strategic, using you as a pawn to go around and get everybody's trust to tell you stuff so you can run it back to her — you willingly did that," said Burruss. "And that's what annoys me about this whole situations because we genuinely thought that you were trying to reach out and hang out. ... That is not cool."
Still, Momplaisir insisted she was being genuine, insisting hat Leakes' absence was "proof enough" of her guilt.
"It's interesting that NeNe is not sitting here," Momplaisir said.
Bailey agreed with her. "This is what I see: If Yovanna's over here lying and made all this up, why would NeNe not be here to expose Yovanna? The fact that Yovanna's here and NeNe chooses not to be here is all I need to see," said Bailey. "I have no other choice, but I'm going to have to go with Yovanna at this point."
As for Leakes, though she never surfaced again, host Andy Cohen said she told producers they needed to "put respect" on her name.