Part one of the virtual Vanderpump Rules season 8 reunion featured plenty of drama as the SUR and TomTom servers, past and present, rehashed their issues from last summer. In between all of the fighting, Lisa Vanderpump explained why — though she condemned their "heinous" words at the time — she did not fire new stars Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni from her restaurants after their years-old racist tweets resurfaced last winter.
The topic was broached as Jax Taylor blasted Tom Sandoval for bringing up (on camera) homophobic social media posts by the pastor who was supposed to officiate his wedding.
"I don't understand why you need to make a big production out of it considering what your manager's done," Jax said, as the rest of the cast looked shocked.
Tom pointed out that Jax had texted Max and Brett telling them he was going to come after him because of their bad blood over the pastor.
"The only reason why you said s— is not because you give a f— about racial equality, it's to f—ing deflect from your s—," Tom yelled.
"How do you know what I care about?" Jax demanded as wife Brittany Cartwright accused Tom of trying to make the couple "look bad" again.
"I hope you reacted the same way to Max as you did to me," Jax added.
"Yeah, we did," Tom's girlfriend Ariana Madix assured him.
Lisa pointed out that Tom, as a minority owner of Tom Tom, had no right to fire Max from his position as manager of the bar. "Firstly, as a 5 percent shareholder, he wouldn't have the right to terminate his employment," she explained, before turning to the rest of the group. "If I fired every one of you that have made mistakes, it doesn't matter to what degree, probably none of you would have a job."
Getty Images (3) From left: Max Boyens, Lisa Vanderpump and Brett Caprioni
In the reported tweets posted in 2012, Max called the N-word his "favorite word," talked about wanting to "punch" Asians and called pop star Justin Bieber "queer." Brett, a waiter at SUR and Lisa's personal trainer, also reportedly tweeted the N-word multiple times, along with the hashtag "#womensuck."
During Tuesday night's reunion, Max emphasized his original apology, adding, "I'm an adult now, and I cringe even thinking that I said those things."
Lisa asked how his "diverse family" felt about the tweets, and Max confirmed that his grandfather, "who pretty much raised" him, is black, and his mother is biracial.
"We live in a generation now where saying some things, even if you are of that culture, is just frowned upon. I just want to say I'm just really, sincerely sorry. I'm not even — there's no excuse," he said.
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Brett also apologized again. "It wasn't okay then, it's not okay now," he said. "It's something I regret deeply, and it was just kind of making jokes with each other, like we'd literally be in the same room and just say stupid s— to each other, and it was a dumb f—ing thing to do. I'm doing my best to move forward and be the best person I can be, and try to emulate [sic] that to everybody else."
Lisa added that she does not believe Max and Brett are racist now. "I have never seen any inkling of anything that would make me believe that that's the beliefs they're holding now," she said. "And if I had, they wouldn't be working for me."
The reunion, filmed over Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic, was taped before the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in Minneapolis police custody. Floyd's slaying has sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
The Vanderpump Rules reunion continues Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
•Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
•ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.