Why Phaedra's Lie On RHOA Was An Even Lower Blow Than We Thought

Photo: Annette Brown/Bravo.
Even if you’re like me and have never even seen a full episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta, you have probably still heard about the huge falling out between Porsha Williams, Kandi Burruss, and Phaedra Parks. It involves some pretty serious allegations against Burruss and stood in as one of the major plotlines of the past season. Andy Cohen's franchise is fueled on sensational drama between women, but this dispute cuts too deep to simply be considered frivolous entertainment.
In a nutshell, Williams confronted Burruss about a rumor she’d heard that Burruss (and her husband Todd) had once planned to drug Williams and bring her home with them. Williams never revealed her source, and Burruss vehemently denied the allegations. It was a source of tension between the two women all season. Fast forward to the season 9 reunion: Burruss demands to know where Williams heard the harsh claim, and Williams reveals that Parks told her.
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This information was such a shocker, because Parks lied. She told Williams that she had heard the information directly from Burruss when it fact, it had been third-party information. She watched things escalate between Burruss and Williams all season and never stepped in, with Burruss setting her own beef with Parks aside temporarily to beg her to vouch for her character. The severity of this rumor crossed the line of normal reality show cattiness. In the wake of it all, viewers have called for Parks to be fired from the show.
Much of the conversation has focused on this as a redemptive moment for Burruss, a new low for Parks, and an embarrassing example of Williams being pawned in an already brewing hostility between Burruss and Parks. Burruss could have faced criminal consequences had William decided to pursue sexual assault charges. However, there are deeper implications for Williams that make this a particularly treacherous play from Parks.
Earlier in the season, Burruss revealed that she and Williams had a consensual pseudo-sexual experience that involved her and her husband Todd. Although they never slept together, it was a pretty close encounter. Essentially, Parks implied that someone Williams had trusted in such an intimate way had intentions of raping her. The psychological effects of that kind of betrayal run deeper than mean-girl fodder. It’s potentially triggering and harmful in a way that no one deserves.
On her Dish network radio show, Williams recently spoke out about that betrayal, saying she “just can't get past” it and isn’t sure if she ever will. I completely understand why.