Two Chicago men are suing cast members of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, the Bravo network and the owners of the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic after they were allegedly viciously attacked by members of the cast during an incident on February 23.
Adolfo Arreola, a University of Illinois at Chicago police officer, cousin Jason Gomez and their families were in the Dominican Republic to celebrate the 40th wedding anniversary of Arreola’s aunt and uncle. Unluckily for the Chicago family, the cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and the Bravo production crew were at the same hotel filming scenes from Season 3 of the show.
It was during Arreola’s first day there that he and his family bumped into the Housewives cast at the Hard Rock Hotel bar – Adolfo was dancing with his wife when Teresa Giudice sprayed champagne in his mother-in-law Yolanda Martinez’s face.
“I went over and said ‘Hey what’s happening here?’ and I was surrounded,” Arreola told the Chicago Sun-Times after a press conference with his attorney. “Albie says to me ‘What the F—?’ And they knocked me down, started punching and stomped on my face,” he went on to say.
In another interview Arreola says, “They just started punching me, beating me up. They put me on the floor, they stomped on my face a couple of times. I was trying to cover my face.” His attempts to protect his face resulted in a broken wrist, according to the lawsuit.
Chris Gomez received a broken leg as well as torn ligaments in his knee during the fracas. Both men required surgicery upon returning to the United States and have missed work because of their injures. Their attorneys claims Gomez may be out years waiting for his knee to get well enough to enable him to return to his job as an electrician.
^ Chris Gomez sustained injuries to his face in addition to a broken leg
In the alleged victims’ accounts of the attack they say they were swarmed by a number of people during the attack, identifying Joe Giudice, Albert Manzo and Christopher Manzo as three of the attackers. The complete list of people named in the lawsuit are: Teresa Giudice, Guiseppe “Joe” Giudice, Albert Manzo, Christopher Manzo, Gregory Bennett, Jr., Albert Manzo, III, Caroline Manzo and Lauren Manzo in addition to Sirens Media, LLC and Bravo Media, LLC.
Things didn’t necessarily get worse after their run-in with the RH Mafia, but they sure didn’t get much better. According to Arreola the Hard Rock Hotel security refused to call police or attempt to summon medical help – a claim that an attorney for the Hard Rock’s operators denies. “It’s our position that the hotel and its personnel acted appropriately at all times. They took the necessary steps to take care of the guests,” said Ricardo Cata.
The nightmare continued as Arreola and Gomez then had their passports seized by local authorities From the Chicago Sun-Times:
And at one point, an attorney for the police ordered him to sign a “release of claims” form involving the television show, Arreola said, recalling the attorney told him it “was for my family’s health and well-being.”
“I took that as a threat,” Arreola said. He responded to the attorney “‘You’re telling me family’s health and well-being is in jeopardy?’ And they said ‘yes.’”
“I was scared for my life. If they told me to chop off my finger, I would have gave them my finger to get out of there,” he said.
Arreola and Gomez’s attorney William Gibbs says that the release was signed under duress, thus making it void.
Part of the alleged “duress” was caused by attorneys for Bravo, who were reportedly flown in to deal with the matter. And speaking of Bravo, Gibbs says that he believes some of, if not all of, the attack was was captured on film by the production crew and they have requested that Bravo turn over any and all footage related to the incident.
So far Bravo has been completely hush hush about the matter and haven’t revealed whether or not the incident was filmed in full or in part and also not responding to numerous requests for a comment from news agencies covering the story.
Here is a video report by ABC 7 News from WLS-TV in Chicago that includes some of the press conference footage with Arreola, Gomez’s wife and their attorney:
Attorney William Gibbs said of Bravo, “These people know that confrontation, physical, verbal, increases ratings, makes the show more dramatic.” I suppose it won’t be long that reality show stars will be talked about in much the same negative light as professional athletes, and much like football players there will be a lot of debate as to whether or not it is a good thing to cultivate violent tendencies (table flipping, wig pulling, Snooki punching, Gary Shirley kicking) to increase profits. And of course us bloggers aren’t innocent in all of this, as we do our own “swarming” whenever something violent and dramatic happens on screen.
I think my take is similar to that of professional football – keep it on the field. Let the Giudices beat each other up and pull each other’s hair right? After all, they’re getting paid for it. Just don’t let that spill over to an innocent family on vacation!