NEW YORK (AP) - Fans of Bravo's "Real Housewives" reality franchise often tune in for the catfights and drama, but one Atlanta housewife says the genre may encourage bullying.
"Unfortunately I do think that reality TV has spawned a whole culture of bullying," said Phaedra Parks in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I believe that the behavior you see on reality TV does not exactly exemplify how adults should be conducting themselves."
Highlights of the series, which has been replicated in seven cities across the country, include volatile tempers, verbal outbursts, name calling and allegations of mean tweeting - and who can forget the infamous New Jersey table flip seen 'round the world?
The last season of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" kicked off with a chaotic, physical altercation at a baby christening, while the new season in Beverly Hills, Calif., has focused on veteran castmates ganging up on and ostracizing new girl Brandi Glanville, going as far as hiding her crutches while she had a broken foot.
But Atlanta housewife and recording artist Kandi Burruss says bullying was around long before their hit TV franchise.
"A lot of people try to find reasons or ways to blame people or situations for their grief or sadness," Burruss said. "Personally, I think reality TV is a mimic of what's happening in real life, not the other way around. People have always had arguments, and there's always been cliques."
Parks said she believes parents need to monitor what their children watch and insists that series like hers are not meant for young viewers. She also said she thinks reality stars should set a better example.
"We have to say that violence is unacceptable," Parks said. "We have to learn to resolve our issues by communicating effectively."
Season 4 of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" premieres on Bravo on Nov. 6 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.