RHOP Cast Discusses More Sexual Misconduct Claims Against Ashley Darby's Husband Michael
Sunday’s Real Housewives of Potomac season 4 reunion got tense, as new sexual misconduct claims against controversial househusband Michael Darby were spread.
In the final moments of the three-episode reunion’s second installment, Potomac Housewives Gizelle Bryant, Robyn Dixon, Karen Huger, Candiace Dillard and Monique Samuels all said that other producers on the Bravo show over the years had allegedly been groped by Michael too.
The alleged incidents, the women said, happened way back in 2016 during RHOP‘s first season — around the same time cameras caught Michael touching the behind of Katie Rost’s then-fiancé Andrew Martin on the dance floor.
“That same evening when he grabbed Andrew’s butt, we were also made aware that he grabbed a couple of our producers’ butts as well,” Dixon told reunion host Andy Cohen.
“I’ve heard this from more than one person,” said Dillard, who was backed up by Bryant, Huger, and Samuels
Ashley Darby, Michael’s wife, quickly insisted news of the alleged groping was new to her. “I’ve never heard this,” she said.
That prompted Huger to ask Ashley, “Is it quite possible that you don’t know about Michael?”
A rep for Truly Original, RHOP‘s production company, did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment about the claims.
Michael, 60, did not appear on Sunday’s reunion episode to address the new claims. However, in a preview for next week’s reunion conclusion, he denied ever touching members of production.
“That’s not true,” he said, after Bryant told him, “Producers have told us you have done that to them.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Michael shouted in the preview. “I don’t care what you’ve heard, it’s inconsequential to me. … You should all be ashamed of yourselves. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Similar statements of innocence were made by Michel as he battled a sexual assault claim from a member of RHOP‘s crew this season.
Last September, during filming for season 4, a cameraman named Orville Palmer claimed in court documents that Michael had “grabbed and groped” his backside during filming. That next month, charges of felony assault as well as misdemeanor improper sexual contact were dismissed by a Montgomery County court due to insufficient evidence.
Later, in July, RHOP aired previously unseen production footage which appeared to show Michael interacting with an unnamed cameraman.
“Hey bud?” Michael said in the clip, smiling and giggling as he passed the crew member. “You alright?”
“Please don’t do that,” the man said directly, repeating it twice.
At the reunion on Sunday, that footage came up — with Bryant, Huger, Dixon, Dillard, and Samuels all pointing to it as proof that Michael had inappropriately touched the cameraman.
“It takes a certain courage to step up and say, ‘This happened to me.’ And I met this young man,” Huger said, of Palmer. “I want to hear what Michael has to say because I’ve seen the footage now and his history is not good.”
“That guy, to me, seems like he would not lie about something like that about a cast member’s husband,” said Bryant. “We’ve all met the guy. Stand up guy. Nice guy. So because of it, it just was like, ‘He wouldn’t do this.’ ”
“And ruin his life!” added Dillard. “Because his name was everywhere. Why would he do that? What is he trying to get?”
Additionally, the women all confronted Ashley about the disrespect they felt Michael showed Ashley by being involved in the scandal in the first place, and the frustration they had toward him when he didn’t apologize to her.
“When he got on Fox-5 and he said, ‘I’m good, I didn’t do it, it’s been thrown out.’ And I’m like, ‘Take this opportunity to publicly apologize for humiliating your wife,’ ” Bryant said. “Even just for the implication. It’s what he put you through. Your name is in the tabloids and if you Google you, I’m sure it says ‘Michael Darby squeezing ass.’ I’m sure that’s what he did to you.”
As frustrated as they were, Ashley stayed firm in her support of Michael.
She told the rest of her cast that she didn’t feel humiliated by Michael’s accusations, and that she didn’t need an apology from him.
“It’s the intention,” she said. “Michael is not intending to disrespect me. He’s not trying to make me look bad.”
And while she didn’t need an “I’m sorry” from her husband, she did want one from the rest of her costars — especially when they spread allegations that Michael made a sexual comment about one their husbands/boyfriends during a night out drinking.
“The way I perceived it is that it was some sort of revenge. … I felt like you were all ganging up on me. I felt like you knew that the s— was hitting the fan and you just decided to throw more up there,” Ashley said. “You were reveling what was happening towards me. It’s as if you were feeling some sort of vindication.”
As for that alleged comment, fans may never know whether or not Michael said it (he previously denied it), but they did finally learn at Sunday’s reunion who he was supposedly talking about.
Dixon had previously kept the mystery man’s identity under wraps, but at the reunion, she revealed it was her beau, Juan.
The Real Housewives of Potomac season 4 reunion concludes Sunday (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.