Dorión Renaud is no stranger to reality TV.
He first graced the small screen way back in 2008 with BET‘s College Hill: Atlanta. Since then, he’s gone on to enter the skincare industry while keeping a public profile. But the Texas native definitely hasn’t seen this level of sketchiness before!!
Related: Grayson Chrisley Says He ‘Didn’t Have A Choice’ About Being On Reality TV!
MTV has a much-anticipated new series out called The Real Friends of WeHo. It follows a group of (um, supposed?) friends around LGBT-friendly El Lay enclave West Hollywood. The new series tracks the gay group’s social lives and all the fun and drama that comes with. But apparently it’s not exactly what it seems?!?!
Fans had already been pissed at MTV execs for cutting down RuPaul‘s Drag Race — from 90-minute episodes to just 60 minutes — in order to make programming room for Real Friends. But now, according to Renaud, that’s not the only reason people should be disappointed! In fact, how it all came together is a story in and of itself!!
Renaud spoke to Love B. Scott on Friday afternoon, revealing the process for signing onto the show was apparently shrouded in some pretty significant mystery! The Buttah skincare mogul explained how he was originally told the show was going to be called The A-List: Los Angeles. It was meant to be a spin-off of a show Logo ran in 2010 and 2011 called The A-List: New York.
As Renaud recounted to the outlet, he was told one very specific thing about the series:
“I was approached back in March of 2021. It was pitched to me as The A-List: Los Angeles. It [was] supposed to be a reboot of the series The A-List: New York. I was told it was going to be docuseries style that followed me working on my brand and showing parts of my personal life. Also, I was told the show would be on the streaming service Paramount+. I initially said no several times, but finally signed my contract at the last minute.”
And yet for a group of “real friends,” as we now know the show is called, Dorión never met any of them!!
He explained how he was only aware of cast mate Curtis Hamilton‘s presence prior to filming, but was left in the dark on all the others involved:
“During the process of them courting me, production told me names of people who were being approached. Aside from Curtis [Hamilton] who I’ve been friends with for a few years, I had no idea who was on the show until filming. I was home filming stuff with Buttah for 2 weeks before I even met the cast. Production was very tight lipped about who was on the show. Keep in mind, the whole time I’m thinking the show is still A-List: Los Angeles.”
It sounds crazy to hear him tell it now, but Renaud said he only found out the real title of the show when the press release came out! He only learned it was set to air on MTV then, too. AND that its presence would take time away from the beloved Drag Race! What a trifecta of unwanted and unexpected surprises!!!
“I found out in the press release, we had no idea it was going to MTV and that it would take away from Drag Race. I watch Drag Race and I love Ru, he’s iconic. Again, I was still under the impression this was the A-List: Los Angeles for Paramount+ so I was shocked to find out it was going to MTV. I didn’t sign up for MTV. I also didn’t see the poster beforehand. I saw it at the same time as everyone else and that’s where I had a serious issue.”
He was especially taken aback because he doesn’t even live in West Hollywood:
“They promoted the show as six gay men living in West Hollywood who are friends. First I don’t live in West Hollywood, I live in the valley, I love the valley. I never go to West Hollywood, I’m not in that scene. Aside from Curtis I wasn’t friends with any of the cast. I also have never confirmed or talked about my sexuality. I felt betrayed because they have me identifying as something I’m not. I’m Dorión Renaud.”
Love a good Valley shoutout!
Now, he is mad about what he says is the process of being misled through filming.
As he told the outlet, he put up big bucks to do things for his skincare line in conjunction with the show. Now, to have the planned “docuseries” turn out very differently than what he’d been expecting has come as a shock:
“I brought in Macy’s for the show, and I have Cassie shooting a campaign for Buttah. I spent a lot of my own dollars promoting my business for the series, because I was filming under the impression this was a docuseries that was following me the businessman. I was definitely misled; I can’t speak on what my other cast members were told.”
Don’t expect him to promote the show much, either. Renaud explained how he doesn’t really want to lend his brand to something he didn’t sign up for:
“It kinda happened to me on College Hill, but I was young and didn’t have a voice. But I do now, I addressed my concerns to the higher ups and was basically told to be a happy camper and to the promote the show. But I will not promote something that I cannot stand behind. I tried to leave the show several times, but I couldn’t.”
Then, he concluded by asking the most vocal critics on social media to understand that the cast is apparently just as thrown by the show’s release as viewers are:
“It’s crazy, we are getting no support. There are people saying the most negative stuff online, some have gotten death threats and we aren’t getting any support from the network or production company. It’s not the cast fault that we ended up on MTV. I would not have signed on to this show if I knew about the name change, the theme of the show changing and the network change. I don’t feel comfortable representing a city/community that I’m not a part of.”
Such a crazy situation! So shady!
You can read Renaud’s full interview HERE.
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