James Kennedy Defends His Place in the 'Vanderpump Rules' Group After Heated Reunion (Exclusive)
By Brice Sander
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James Kennedy isn’t going anywhere on Vanderpump Rules.
"I'm sick of them telling me I don't deserve a seat when I'm James Kennedy," James proclaims to ET at the 4th Annual World Dog Day in West Hollywood, California.
The 27-year-old is fresh off a heated all-cast reunion, where he faced off with more than half the cast over his behavior from the past season, namely Jax Taylor, Brittany Cartwright and Kristen Doute. The underlying argument for everyone against James seemed to be that he doesn’t have a “true friendship” with anyone in the group.
"Look, Tom [Sandoval]'s one of my best friends," James offers. "Scheana [Shay]’s one of my best friends, OK? Ariana [Madix]'s my friend. I've still got friends in this gang. That's nearly 40 percent, nearly 50 percent of the cast. So, let's not beat around the bush here. And also, Lisa [Vanderpump]'s been my boss slash, you know, amazing person in my life for so many years now. I'm also [Lisa’s son], Max Vanderpump's, best friend. I mean, it goes further than this show, it's my life. So, I'm sick of it."
James says he’s simply the "easy target" for his co-stars, who were an established friend group before cameras started filming their lives for reality TV.
"Vanderpump Rules is obviously a show with everyone's relationships and friendships, and I feel like it's easy to gang up on somebody when, you know, there's a certain clique, you know what I mean?" he says. "And if I'm not part of that clique, then, you know, I'm sure they'd rather spend their 12-hour [reunion taping] day, you know, posted on one person rather than talking among the 10 of themselves. It's easier, it's easier. Let's just cross one bridge and not cross 10."
James’ role on the show has, seemingly, been further cemented now that his girlfriend, Raquel Leviss, is working as a waitress at SUR, the restaurant at the heart of the Bravo hit. Raquel was on hand for the season seven reunion, where Jax and others called her “dumb.”
"You know, when people come after my intelligence, it really just shows me that they're insecure with something that they're going through," Raquel tells ET. "I know that I'm intelligent and, you know, having someone tell you that you're not smart or that you're dumb as rocks, it's like so beyond inappropriate, so, you know, it hits hard for me, too, because I have a learning disability."
"It really boils me up," she adds.
Raquel, James, Jax and Brittany were all on hand for the 4th Annual World Dog Day celebration presented by PetPlan Pet Insurance on Saturday, May 18. The event, organized by their Pump Rules boss, Lisa Vanderpump, aims to raise awareness about stopping the dog meat trade in Asia, and went off without a hitch for the frenemies. In fact, Jax and Brittany offered up apologies while speaking with ET on the red carpet.
"I apologized," Jax shares. "You know, you get into these reunions, you haven't seen any of these people in a long time, you got pent up aggression or whatever, and sometimes you say things you don't mean or you say things you do mean, but it was taken a little bit out of context. I apologize. It is what it is."
"We can act like adults," Brittany says with a laugh. "Might not have looked like it at the reunion, but we can, I swear."
For more from Jax and Brittany, check out the video below. Part three of the Vanderpump Rules season seven reunion airs Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.