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Tom Sandoval compares ‘Scandoval’ cheating drama to OJ Simpson and George Floyd

‘Vanderpump Rules’ star also says he feels like he ‘got more hate than Danny Masterson’ one year after his cheating scandal

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 21 February 2024 14:14 GMT
Related: Cheating scandal unfolds in Vanderpump Rules season finale

Vanderpump Rules star Tom Sandoval has faced backlash after comparing public reception towards his infamous cheating scandal to OJ Simpson and George Floyd.

In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times published 20 February, the 41-year-old Bravo reality star reflected on his life one year after it was r​​evealed he cheated on his partner of nearly 10 years with his Vanderpump Rules co-star - referred to on social media as “Scandoval”.

During the interview, Sandoval made a controversial remark when asked why he believed there was such public outrage toward his on-screen infidelity. “I’m not a pop-culture historian really, but I witnessed the OJ Simpson thing and George Floyd and all these big things, which is really weird to compare this to that, I think, but do you think in a weird way it’s a little bit the same?” he replied.

Journalist Irina Aleksander, who wrote the profile, attempted to clarify Sandoval’s comment by noting that he was the “symbolic centre of a nationwide discussion and a major news story”. However, she later revealed that she received a call from Vanderpump Rules executive producer Alex Baskin and a publicist from the Bravo network, who were “concerned” about Sandoval’s comments regarding Simpson and Floyd.

Elsewhere in the interview, the TomTom Bar and Restaurant co-owner described how it felt to be on the receiving end of such derision following his cheating scandal. “I feel like I got more hate than Danny Masterson, and he’s a convicted rapist,” Sandoval told the New York Times. In 2023, the That ‘70s Show star was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison after he was found guilty of raping two women over two decades ago.

A representative for Sandoval issued the statement to The Independent: “My intentions behind the comments I made in New York Times Magazine were to explain the level of national media attention my affair received. The comparison was inappropriate and ignorant. I'm incredibly sorry and embarrassed.”

Sandoval opened up about his current relationship status with former castmate Leviss, who departed the show after season 10 and subsequently checked into a two-month stay at a mental health facility in Arizona. “She never even gave me any closure,” Sandoval said about Leviss, with who he engaged in an eight-month long affair while dating his co-star, Ariana Madix. “It was really hard. It still messes with me.”

The reality TV star explained that he pursued Leviss, 29, while in a relationship with his partner of 10 years because he was in something of a mid-life crisis. “You know when you just feel like you don’t know what’s cool anymore, and you’re past your prime and a little bit of a joke?” he told the outlet. “I did what I did because I was in an unhappy place in my life. I got caught up in my emotions and fully fell in love. Like, for real.”

Sandoval revealed he was going to inform Madix of the affair after filming had wrapped on season 10, that is until she discovered his infidelity while the show was airing in March 2023. “I just wanted to not feel watched,” he said. “I wanted to take a breath.”

Bravo cameras picked back up to capture the fallout of Sandoval and Madix’s relationship for the show’s season 10 finale, as millions of viewers tuned in to witness the restauranteur’s ex confront him about his infidelity. Following the critical success of season 10, Vanderpump Rules earned its first two Emmy nominations.

Both Sandoval and Leviss have since issued apologies to Madix in the wake of the scandal. It was later reported that Sandoval and Leviss broke up just two months after their affair was revealed. He is currently dating model Victoria Lee Robinson.

Vanderpump Rules, which premiered on Bravo in 2013, follows the lives of servers and bartenders working at Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant, SUR Restaurant and Lounge. The show’s 11th season, which premiered on 30 January, airs Tuesdays on Bravo at 8pm ET.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Sandoval for comment.

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