“Everything’s bigger in Dubai, and I couldn’t be more excited to launch Bravo’s first international ‘Housewives’ series in a city I’ve been fascinated by for years, with an outstanding group of friends as our guides,” the executive producer said in a press release, according to Page Six.
In April 2022, the network confirmed the new cast, according to TV Insider. Nina Ali, Chanel Ayan, Caroline Brooks, Lesa Milan, Sara Al Madani, and Caroline Stanbury inked deals to bring the franchise overseas. The network also announced that the new series would premiere on June 1, 2022.
While some people were excited to get to know the new women, several fans were outraged that Cohen and the network had chosen Dubai for the location of the new series, given their feelings on the country’s stance on several human rights issues.
As the premiere date approached, several “Real Housewives” fans vowed to boycott the season and took to Reddit to express their frustration and disappointment with the network for moving forward with the show. Others have expressed their opinions about why they don’t feel that a boycott is necessary.
According to TVDeets, the premiere episode saw 769,000 viewers. For comparison purposes, the premiere of season 12 of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” came in at 1,151,000 viewers. The season 11 premiere of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” had 1,132,000 viewers, and the season 2 premiere of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” saw 806,000 viewers tune in.
Here’s what you need to know:
Hundreds of Redditors Commented on a Thread About Boycotting the New Program
A Reddit thread with more than 200 comments shows that many people are planning on skipping out on the franchise as they don’t feel that it’s an appropriate location for a reality show.
“Being gay in Dubai is illegal. Bravo has a huge gay viewer base. As a gay man, I will not be watching the show. I ask that you join me,” one Redditor wrote, starting a new thread.
“You might not think anyone in the cast is homophobic… but tell me… how many women in the UAE will be able to watch this? Do you think they’ll show the ladies at a march for marriage equality in Dubai? Oh wait…That awkward moment when you learn that homosexuality is punishable by death, castration, or life in prison,” another comment read.
“I won’t watch. I may look at discussions about it, but I won’t be watching. I don’t like the argument of ‘I will watch to educate myself or to start a conversation about the atrocities happening in the UAE.’ There’s lots of other ways to have conversations about these things without supporting and promoting the UAE which is most likely paying Bravo to air this in order to make the human rights atrocities by laying a glamorous blanket on the not so glamorous reality of what 99% of the population faces…” a third person wrote.
Meanwhile, some Redditors played devil’s advocate and pointed out reasons that people should boycott other franchises.
“As a gay man in the south, I gotta admit this conversation is troubling. Y’all love the southern bravo shows, but do you understand that anti lgbt legislation is the norm in the south including South Carolina, Georgia & Texas? I understand the feelings toward bravo promoting Dubai, but why’s it okay to watch Dallas, Atlanta, southern karma, family karma etc?” a Reddit user countered.
“These posts are great to bring awareness to what is going on in Dubai as a lot of people don’t know, but rather than telling people what to do, why not leave the choice for the viewer? Based on the comments in this post I see both sides that choose to either watch or boycott have valid points. It’s good to bring awareness, but we also have to respect those who wish to watch this show as this sub is an escape for many and they may not feel comfortable discussing the show with this divide going on,” someone else added.
Some of the RHODubai Women Have Spoken out About Fans’ Concerns
The feedback from Bravo fans has not gone unheard by the women on “The Real Housewives of Dubai.” In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the women responded to some of the comments that are out there.
“There’s mixed emotions, mixed opinions, mixed feelings. The ones that know Housewives understand it and the ones that don’t, there’s this misconception that the Housewives of Dubai means, like, literally housewives sitting at home ironing and cooking and going to Waitrose down the street, but it’s not. So I think a lot of people, when they see the show, they’ll realize that this is not what it’s about,” Nina Ali told the outlet.
“The franchise is a legacy, so we have mixed feelings about it. Some are OK with it, some are excited and then some are not because they still don’t understand the concept of it. And the concept is that we are not representing how housewives are in Dubai, and we are not representing any housewives, whether she’s Emirate or not. I’m Emirate. I’m not representing any woman from the Emirates. I’m representing me and all the girls are representing themselves,” Sara Al Madani explained.
“I’m mostly excited about is for people to see how women are in the Middle East and how our life is, and how we have fun in Dubai and the things we do in Dubai,” Al Madani added.