"I am the reason why I am in this situation," the former reality star told Tamron Hall in her first interview since being fired

By Jodi Guglielmi
September 17, 2020 11:02 AM
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Stassi Schroeder is speaking out about her Vanderpump Rules exit for the first time.

Schroeder, 32, appeared on the Tamron Hall  on Thursday to discuss being fired over past racially insensitive actions.

"I needed time to process my feelings. I needed time to process what happened. I feel like one of the most frustrating parts when this all went down was that people expected me to just understand immediately, and things like that take time," she said as to why she waited to address the news. "I felt like it would be better for me to get a greater understanding of everything and the issue before I opened my mouth again."

In June, Bravo confirmed that Schroeder and her costar Kristen Doute would not be returning to Vanderpump Rules, on which they had both starred since the show's debut in 2013. New cast members Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni — whose years-old racist tweets resurfaced last winter — will also not be coming back.

"I’m someone who messed up quite a few times. I am the reason why I am in this situation. I think a lot of people wanted me to focus on cancel culture and whether I was a victim or not, and that’s just not how I feel at all," Schroeder. said "I’ve never felt like I was racist, I don’t have hate in my heart. But I’ve recognized that I wasn’t anti-racist. I wasn’t. That’s something that I’ve been learning throughout all of this."

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Schroeder and Doute were fired after former castmate Faith Stowers publicly recalled a time when the two spotted a tabloid article about a black woman wanted for theft and called the police to pin the crimes on her as revenge for her cheating scandal with Jax Taylor.

"I legitimately thought we were solving crime. I was completely wrong," she said. As for some fans' calls for Bravo to dismiss Taylor, too? "I don’t want to see any of my friends fired, honestly. I don’t want to speak to that."

Looking back, Schroeder said she understands where she went wrong — and has taken steps to educate herself in order to become a "better person."

"I’ve spent the last three months working with a teacher and learning so much that I didn’t know. I didn’t understand that just because something wasn’t about race for me, doesn’t mean it’s not about race for the other person," she said. "I’m bringing my experience as a white privileged woman to this situation, and she’s bringing her experience as a black woman into this situation. Because it’s about race for her, it is about race. That’s something that I’ve realized."

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She continued: "I have spent my life as a privileged person. It is my fault, I have to say this, that I had not educated myself before. It’s my fault that I didn’t know better."

When Hall asked if she supports the Black Lives Matter Movement, she confirmed she now does: "Black people are dying. Because they’ve been oppressed for 400 years. All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter. I’ve realized, in doing classes."

Speaking to PEOPLE after her appearance on Tamron Hall, Schroeder — who is expecting her first child with fiancé Beau Clark — said she plans to use her own past mistakes to teach her daughter about racial injustice.

"I think the best thing I can do for my child is make sure people from different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds are part of her life. I realize this doesn’t just happen; I will need to be proactive about putting her in environments and situations where she will get to embrace differences, whether it is at school, in playgroups or other activities," she told PEOPLE. "Even when we’re doing things like reading books together, I think there will be ways to teach her about inclusion and have conversations about being part of a diverse world."

As for her career, Schroeder said that while her reality television days may be behind her, she plans to resume her podcast, Straight Up With Stassi  — but this time with the goal of making a "difference."

"My podcast was and is so important to me and I think that it would be a good way for me to continue doing what I like, while also making some sort of a difference," she said. "I think this time around I would maybe focus a little more on asking questions and listening while still voicing my opinions."