Shaunie O'Neal, the ex-wife of NBA star-turned-correspondent Shaquille O'Neal and producer of VH1's reality show "Basketball Wives," said the show will tone down its violent messages and work to showcase more positivity after advertisers began to respond to protests from unhappy audiences.
- Facebook: Basketball Wives
"We take responsibility. After talking and seeing ourselves this season, this season was bananas," O'Neal recently said in S2S magazine. "It definitely was a lot more bad than good. Even when we did have the good, the bad seemed to outweigh it."
After cast member Jennifer Williams, the separated spouse of former NBA player Eric Williams, was physically assaulted with an open palm on the show, she responded with a lawsuit. Many fans of "Basketball Wives" also took action, by signing petitions to end the violence and acts of bullying that have taken place on the show which is in its fourth season.
One petition, called "Boycott Basketball Wives and Evelyn Lozada," has received over 27,053 signatures thus far on change.org. The appeal called for the boycott of the show along with the boycotting of a spinoff show featuring cast member Evelyn Lozada, who has initiated violent situations on the show this season.
"The violence on 'Basketball Wives' is horrible and disgraceful. Physical assaults, threats, verbal abuse, harassment and VH1 is rewarding this behavior by giving her a spinoff show," the petition states. "Don't reward negative behavior. Sign the petition to not watch Evelyn Lozada's spinoff."
Star Jones, a former Brooklyn prosecutor who also had a stint on reality television on the show "Celebrity Apprentice," was a main supporter of petitions circulating to end the show which has showcased bottle throwing, screaming matches and physical altercations.
"It may be 'comfortable' to be quiet when women of color slap the crap out of each other & run across tables barefoot, but #ENOUGH is ENOUGH," Jones tweeted after petitions began circulating last month.
Ratings for the show reportedly dropped from two million viewers a few weeks ago to 1.75 million last week, according to Eurweb.com. The 12.5 percent drop caused O'Neal and show producers Shed Media to take notice.
O'Neal said she has tried to showcase a balance on the show in the past, but the dip in ratings may have finally caused executives to take notice.
"I think my voice is being resonated and Shed Media VH1 have heard me," O'Neal said at the show's reunion taping. "We're all on this page of getting some balance and getting some good and positive content."