An Open Letter to Bethenny Frankel

Dear Ms. Frankel,

My name is Ilana Angel and I am a writer for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.  I write a blog about my life and worldview called “Keeping the Faith”, and a blog about reality television called “Keeping it Real”.  As you know, I write about you a lot.  I know you know because you are talking about me. The world is small, we know people in common, and so it makes sense I would hear things about you and I assume you hear things about me too. I think we would both agree that we are very aware of each other.

As a bit of a back story, I met you years ago while working at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.  I watched you on Martha Stewart’s Celebrity Apprentice, then on the Real Housewives of New York City. I was a fan, and on those early years on RHONYC you were charming, funny, entertaining and great television.  I’m not sure when or what it was exactly that things changed for me in terms of how I viewed you, but at some point you stopped being funny and started to be obnoxious.

You have lost many fans over the years, which I imagine does not matter to you since you picked up more than you lost.  The thing is though, the fans from the beginning are the ones, like myself, who liked you when you had nothing.  We were your fans not because you sold us something, but because we wanted you to get to the place where you could sell us something.  We are not Kool-Aid drinking fans who think you care about us because we buy your stuff.  We liked you before you had so much stuff.

With your success, which is impressive, you have become mean and rather vulgar.  I am of the opinion that it’s too bad because when you were uncensored you were fabulous, but there is a thin line between racy and fun and vulgar and mean.  I no longer find you appealing to watch, but I do because I am paid to, and because I keep waiting for you to settle into your fame and fortune and get back to who you were before you became this new Bethenny.  I could be wasting my time, but whatever, I’m waiting.

I think you have been lying about a lot of things and have written as much. Your stories simply do not make sense to me, and while I am smart and educated, it does not take a scientist to put together the pieces of your stories and see that they do not add up.  From tales of your dad, your mom, your childhood, your relationships, your education, and your fame, there is something that simply does not make sense.  That said, it’s just my opinion and clearly has no impact on you or your life, or me and my life.

I like reality television and make a living writing about it.  I am not a hobby blogger, but rather someone who is employed as a writer.  I have an opinion and I share it.  I understand the game of reality television, don’t take too much of it seriously, and appreciate it as a form of entertainment.  It would appear however, that you take my writing more seriously than I take your show, so perhaps it’s time for us to talk about it.  Let’s see if you are ready for a little dose of reality into your reality television life.

On your show last week, you said that the “tow boat guy” spoke to “The Journal” and he lied.  Well, I am the writer who spoke with Tim Russell after he “saved” you, and I don’t think he was lying.  Of course I have only spoke to him and not you so it’s one sided, but this was a lovely man who was clear with his story and his opinion, and he said you lied.  Immediately after he spoke with me, you placed a gag order on him so he could not speak with me or anyone else again.  That spoke volumes about you, not him.

He was adamant that there was no emergency, you fabricated your lost at sea story, and I believed him.  Rather than call me to say it was not true, you put a gag order on him and made no attempt to set the record straight.  Now, having seen the episode of your boat trip, it would appear that it was really not a dangerous situation as much as annoying.  Why would you work so hard to hurt this man and his reputation?  If he lied then so what?  You say people lie about you all the time, where are all those gag orders?

It seems that you are able to have opinions on everyone, but nobody is able to have an opinion about you.  This man had a lot of details about your trip, and I spoke with him at great length, in addition to speaking with the Coast Guard, and the fact is Bethenny, you were never in danger.  It was an unfortunate experience that was made up for television, or perhaps was not made up for TV but simply a case of the doctor not being that talented of a sailor.  Either way, you set up this story to crumble.

You are on your show talking about how people are trying to set you up to be caught in a lie but come on, it’s not that hard.  You have lied about your mom, your dad, your childhood, your road to success, and your friendships.  People lie.  The issue here is that you are believing your own lies and it makes you look like a compulsive liar, not a woman who is being screwed over by those who are envious of her success and want to tear her down.  I can assure you I am not one of those people.

I write about reality television and someone who had an issue with you contacted me and I wrote about it.  I am not out for blood as you told your therapist, I am just writing what was told to me.  It is not envy driven criticism, it is simply spelling out the story of Tim Russell, and he was there. You are on your show ripping him apart and it’s not nice.  You are worried about your credibility, but this man has been working on the sea for 30 years and you don’t seem to mind killing his credibility.

If I am going to be completely honest, I dig you Bethenny.  You have overcome a lot of heartache and struggle to create a life for yourself that is full.  You are a mother and how you view your own mom is shaping what kind of mother you are to your own child.  There are weeks when I want to scream at you to stop lying, and others when I want to hug you and tell you I am proud of you.  At the end of the day that is the reality of reality television I suppose.  I would have sat back and done my job, but you have now brought me in.

I don’t get paid more if I write about you, and the only one getting rich off of you is your mother.  You are talking on your show about how you are going to go after everyone who lies about you, but I have yet to hear from you.  I broke the story about Tim Russell and many outlets picked it up, yet you have not written to me to say it was not true, only put a gag order on Tim Russell. Who by the way insists you did not tip him or appreciate his generous gesture of coming out to get a boat that was not in danger.

Could he be disgruntled?  Of course.  Could he be lying?  Absolutely.  Let’s talk about it.  I invite you to get in touch wit me and I will happily share with you what was shared with me, and you can set the record straight.  I am happy to have that conversation with you and your husband.  I resent you telling everyone I am a liar when you have not proven in any way that what I wrote was a lie.  If I was wrong, I will print a retraction.  I will let everyone know I was wrong, and Tim Russell was not honest when he spoke to me.

Until you stand up for yourself with me, his story stands, and my opinions stand.  I don’t understand why you are on your show clearly talking about me, yet what you are saying is again not ringing true.  You are saying you are going to stop bloggers from writing lies about you, you are clearly referring to my blog, but I have not heard from you.  I am here, I am willing to talk to you, and I am willing to say I was wrong if I was.  If you are serious about wanting people to know the truth, then get in touch and tell the truth.

I am not out to hurt you Bethenny and I’m certainly not getting rich by writing about you.  I am a single mother in my 40’s who is working hard, searching for love, and trying to do it all with my faith in tact.  Rather than hating me for hating you, perhaps you need to stop being a victim and realize there is no hate in sharing an opinion, and you have the power to set the record straight.  Get in touch, or don’t, but stop attacking me for doing my job.  I have done nothing but share a man’s story, and my opinions.

Not everyone is going to like you, or respect you, but more importantly, not everyone is out to get you, or is jealous of you.  Some people, like myself, are happy for you and wish you well, but are tired of the vulgarity, the lies, and the victim stories.  The important thing for you to know is that even when we don’t like you, we are on your side, and you could probably win a few of us back.  I think I’m officially out, but I will listen and again, if I was wrong, I will say so.  I am a writer, and my reputation is based on keeping it real.


Ilana Angel