NeNe Leakes broke down in tears on Sunday’s episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta recalling the regret she felt over controversial comments she made at a comedy show back in October.
“I never meant to say anything that would hurt anybody,” she told Cynthia Bailey and Marlo Hampton, in tears. “I’m not just walking around here made out of steel. I hurt, too. I don’t want to hurt anybody.”
Leakes had hosted the “Girls Night Out for Laughs” event at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California — a night of comedy that featured stars Loni Love, Tiffany Haddish, Adele Givens, Melanie Comarcho, Hope Flood and DJ Lucci.
While on stage, she launched into a joke “warning to women about riding in the car with Uber guys.” But being in the Bay Area, where Uber originated, a female heckler booed Leakes and told her to “kill herself.”
That’s when Leakes responded with the controversial statement, telling the critic, “I ain’t even gonna to tell you about the damn Uber driver. I hope he rape yo a– tonight when he take you home, bitch.”
Video of the clap-back (and the boos that came from audience members) quickly spread online, with Leakes taking to social media days later to publicly apologize.
“I truly regret and apologize for what I said from the stage in Oakland over the weekend,” Leakes said in a statement on Facebook. “Sometimes words can cut deep and hurt when you have no intentions of them doing so. As a woman and someone who has survived abuse, I regret the words that I used. I made a mistake and I should have known better. I hope people accept my deepest and sincerest apologies. I am sorry.”
But when she talked about the incident on Sunday’s RHOA, Leakes got far more emotional.
“I’m so quick to fight back, I have to learn to not fight back. I hate that I said what I said to the lady. Oh my God. I felt so bad. I should never have said that,” she cried. “The problem is, you see red and you just flip. I know it can go somewhere so quick, and you’re not even meaning for it to go there.”
“I have been speaking about domestic violence for so many years,” she added. “So I would never wish harm or abuse about another women. I wish I could have said something different in that moment. I just f—– up.”
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In the wake of the controversy, Leakes was dropped from her job hosting cast member’s Kandi Burruss‘ The Great Xscape Tour.
“Like many, we were dismayed by the recent remarks made by our talented colleague and friend Nene Leakes,” the group said in a statement. “As a result, we have decided to no longer proceed with her participation on our tour. It was an unfortunate incident for which Nene has since apologized and we wish her the best as she navigates this very difficult period.”
They continued, “As strong supporters of all women, we know this decision is what is best. Our hearts go out to all female victims and we stand with you! This tour is for and about our fans and we want to provide an entertaining and enjoyable experience for every single person who attends. As always, we are grateful for the love and support and we look forward to seeing all of you at ‘The Great Xscape’ tour.”
Burruss was just as supportive Sunday.
“It’s not that I was okay with her comment, but because we’re in the public eye, sometimes we say stuff that we shouldn’t say,” Burruss said. “I’m not condoning anything she said.”
Bailey, too, gave Leakes her love.
“You know, you have to be a little more careful about what you said, who you’re around, and what you do,” she told Leakes. “You’re going to grow from this and this is going to be okay. You get to make a mistake and you apologized.”
“To see NeNe so broken down about this whole Uber thing is hard for me to watch,” Bailey added. “She just responded in a moment and she just said the wrong stuff. She messed up.”
The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays (8 p.m. ET) on Bravo.