Lisa Barlow Defends Herself Against 'RHOSLC' Caterer Drama, Claims Whitney Rose 'Coached' Angie (Exclusive)
By Brice Sander
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Lisa Barlow famously asked to "roll footage" at the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City season 1 reunion, and apparently there's plenty more she'd like the audience to see from the "casino night" event that sparked "caterer-gate" (as she's calling it).
On the most recent episode of RHOSLC season 2, Lisa's longtime friend, Angie Harrington, accused the Vida Tequila owner of sabotaging her gambling-themed charity benefit for an LGBTQ organization. Angie alleges Lisa called up the caterers for the party and told them to pull out at the last minute, a conclusion inspired in part by Angie's cousin/Lisa's onscreen frenemy, Whitney Rose. Angie says the caterers pulled out "five hours" after she told Lisa that she and Whitney had been hanging out.
"That is the most ridiculous accusation I've ever had, and absolutely not," Lisa proclaims to ET, Zooming in from her Utah home. "Never would I ever cancel somebody's caterer, nor would I even think to do that. It was the most bizarre thing I've ever been accused of."
Angie is new to the group in season 2, though appeared at an event Lisa hosted in season 1. While not a full-time cast member (she's sort of a "friend of"-lite, expected to pop up a couple more times this season), she threw herself into the mix immediately -- and much to Lisa's surprise, seeing as Lisa recommended her to producers as a potential Housewife for season 2.
"I had recommended more than just her for the show, [and] I think her feelings were hurt and it was a retaliatory move," Lisa guesses of why Angie went after her once cameras went up. Lisa also brought the woman who would become the show's newest snowflake-holder (and seemingly beat Angie out for a slot on the main cast), Jennie Nguyen, to Bravo's attention. Lisa says this came up when Angie confronted her over the caterer theory, with Angie's husband, Chris, in the room.
"One of the biggest issues, too, is he was like, 'You brought Jennie onto the show and you're giving her more attention,' because I had posted a picture with Jennie the week prior," Lisa recalls. "I was just trying to be inclusive and bring a lot of people onto the platform. So it was just a lot happening that day."
Lisa claims there was a lot of nuance left on the cutting room floor of the Angie ambush, which left her visibly shaken and distraught. She says she was "heartbroken" over it all, and reveals she has not spoken to Angie "in months" (likely since this party, which cameras captured in the spring).
"There's two major things here," Lisa notes. "First, you're my friend, and I feel like you're accusing me of something. I was in shock. When she was explaining it to me, I didn't know what was going on. And so to be accused of that on top of something that she knows I'm passionate about, and I am very involved in the community here for the LGBTQ community, it was devastating to me. And, unfortunately, you didn't get to see it, but I was crying and saying, 'You know I'm supportive of this community. You know I care about this community. Why would you say this to me?'"
"And then there was so many other things happening," she continues. "My friendship with Meredith [Marks] was brought up. My friendship with Jen [Shah] was brought up."
When Angie sat Lisa down to address her suspicion that Lisa meddled with her event, Angie brought up those two relationships after Lisa noted that she found it odd Angie would get friendly with Whitney, knowing the history between Whitney and Lisa. Angie was seemingly pointing out hypocrisy, as Lisa continued being Jen's friend, despite Jen's differences with Meredith (more on that below). Lisa says a key comment of Angie's didn't make it to TV, though.
"Angie said, 'I feel like Jen is coming between our friendship,'" Lisa shares. "And I'm like, 'But I don't talk to you about Jen. I never talk to you about Jen. You know nothing about my friendship with Jen.' And then she said, 'I feel like Jen is coming between our friendship, and I feel like Jen is coming between your friendship with Meredith.' And I'm like, 'I don't talk to you about Jen or Meredith. They have nothing to do with this.' So she was all over the place. It was like one issue after another. It just wasn't catering."
Lisa says Angie watched season 1 of the show "extremely closely," and seems to believe the fashion influencer pulled out allegations like this in an attempt to insert herself into the already moving train that is the drama of the show.
"I think there were side conversations that happened about me that I wasn't involved in," she surmises, going on to suggest Whitney "coached" Angie about how to act in this group. "And it was very frustrating for me, because Meredith and I are like sisters. I have a great relationship with Jen. And to have her trying to create problems within them, I felt like she was trying to get allies against me in her home, and that was really uncomfortable because I'm in her home."
Lisa pulled both Meredith and Jen into the room, confusing both women, but made it known she wanted both there for any conversation involving them. However, when Whitney walked into the room, Lisa asked her to leave -- despite the Iris & Beau founder being just as, if not more so, involved in what was unfolding. Again, Lisa claims the episode excluded a telling comment from Whitney.
"She walked in and she goes, 'I got your back, girl,'" Lisa remembers. "And I was like, 'Wait, what does she have your back on?' So it wasn't being a hypocrite. I'm like, 'I see what's happening. I'm being ambushed.' I was like, 'Let's work this out. She doesn't need to be involved. She's not going to help with this.' And Meredith and Jen were only there to defend what she's accusing us of, of having bad relationships, and she knows nothing about them."
Whitney did not leave, though, and confronted Lisa herself, bringing up a private exchange between Angie and Lisa that Angie had shared with her: That Lisa had advised Angie to "not claim" Whitney as family (Angie only realized they were related when Whitney shared her lineage on the series premiere of RHOSLC) and to not follow her on social media. Lisa didn't deny the exchange, and even exposed herself on Twitter as the episode aired, posting the screenshot of the text she'd sent Angie saying as much as Whitney accused of her.
"I did make a snarky comment, four months earlier," she reiterates. "It was a silly comment. It wasn't supposed to be something used against me later on during caterer-gate, and so that was hurtful too."
As things became more and more heated during the confrontation between Angie and Lisa, Whitney narrated Lisa's behavior in a confessional: "I have a PhD in Lisa's behavior: When Lisa's screaming, it's because she's being challenged. When Lisa cries, it's because she doesn't want to deal with it. And when Lisa walks away, it's because she's guilty and she's been caught red-handed."
"When Lisa's screaming, it's because someone's talking over her," Lisa retorts. "Lisa has no problem dealing with anything-- I'm talking about myself in third person! I have no problem dealing with anything. That was so ridiculous. I have no problem dealing with things. I'm a business owner. I have confrontations every single day. I have things I need to deal with. I have people I need to make happy. We have employees. This is ridiculous. I hit things head on. I think you've all seen me do that over and over again."
"If she said this to my face, I think she'd get a much different reaction. She has to say it behind my back in confessionals," she quips. "I walked away because I was done, and I think the guilty one is calling the innocent one guilty."
The catering company has since come to Lisa's defense, slamming Angie.
"[Angie] completely fabricated this story to create a storyline for herself," chef Aubrey Niccoli wrote on Instagram. "She has falsely accused [Lisa] of sabotage. Accusing us of bad business, and it is absolutely disgusting, hurtful and most importantly false. We chose not to do Angie’s event ultimately as a business decision."
When Angie explained the caterer's decision to "drop out" of her event, she cited text messages with them and claimed, "They said, 'Lisa’s assistant called and we can’t do it anymore. We have to pull out of your event'. ... The day before we had talked to them, they were stoked. Someone called them and shut it down. ... They said your name in the text."
Lisa says it's a total misrepresentation of the conversation, going on to share screenshots of the exchange between Angie and the caterers with ET. The messages break the fourth wall, with Aubrey and her husband/business partner, Marco, explaining to Angie that they would rather have the cast film at their restaurant and get promotion for the brick and mortar business, which is likely to be featured with signage on TV, than provide free food for a party that likely will not make mention of their company.
"Those are 100 percent the messages Angie is referencing, and I got those directly from the caterer because, obviously, my name's dropped," Lisa says. "I'm like, why is my name in this? I like facts. I don't like fiction. And I definitely don't like liars."
Lisa laughs off the use of a comment she made about "nothing worse than a party with no food" in the episode as just a common remark she'd make at any event. She points to asking for "treats" at Jen's house and references the snacks she brought along with her to the cast's ice-fishing excursion as examples that she's always thinking about eating.
The Niccolis noted that they catered Jen's event on the first-ever episode of the show and did not receive any onscreen credit for their work, which contributed to their decision not to cater Angie's party, again, free of charge. They also say they never committed to working Angie's event, and only entered into preliminary conversations with her to understand the scope of the potential catering order.
"I think Whitney had a conversation with Angie and we get Bartender-gate 2.0," Lisa cracks, referencing the first fight she ever had with Whitney. In season 1, Lisa provided alcohol and bartenders for Whitney's vow renewal ceremony free of charge (actually paying out of pocket for the tequila, per Utah law). When the bartenders turned out to be less-than-professional, breaking glass at the event, Whitney confronted Lisa about it -- despite the fact that the bartenders did not work for Lisa and were third-party contractors.
"I'm usually building events, so I don't know why I would sabotage an event," Lisa says, calling out a comment Angie made in a confessional about believing Lisa to be capable of doing what she accused her of. Angie also said Lisa "loves control," another comment Lisa laughs off, as she alleges Angie actually asked Lisa to remove guests from the event Angie attended last season.
"I think I'm more of the peacemaker in this group, and trying to get people back together, not tear people apart or hurt people. It's not who I am," Lisa says. "I think that they [Whitney and Angie] were all complicit in this. They were all complicit and being naughty."
Lisa says Whitney is the master manipulator in all this, not her. The two come face to face and start to hash things out on Sunday's episode.
"You're going to see me making a lot of effort into understanding Whitney," Lisa teases. "I think Whitney, for some way, shape or form, holds me as her moral compass, which I'm not. I'm only responsible for me. And I think that there's things about me that triggers something in her."
"And I think as she gets to know me, she will understand ... I take people at face value, I take them for who they are," she adds. "And I think if the girls do the same with me, they would have a much better experience with me."
Whitney and Lisa's dynamic is a little complicated to dissect as a viewer, because it's more about a feeling than any individual actions. Even Angie seemed confused by it, asking Lisa for examples of how Whitney has attacked her in the past. Lisa pointed to comments both Whitney and co-star/another of Whitney's cousins, Heather Gay, have made about her, describing Lisa as "dismissive," among other unkind terms.
"My name means everything to me," Lisa says. "When you're attacking my character over and over again-- I was called nine different names at the beginning of last season -- dismissive, a mean girl, a b***h, entitled -- all these things. And people believed it. I didn't get to show anyone who I am. They were told who I was, and I think they like to further that narrative."
Two seasons in a row, Lisa's appeared to blow the women off when they attempt to exchange pleasantries at a party. In season 1, Lisa offered a drive-by hello to Heather at Jen's soiree celebrating Meredith's birthday (which also happened to be Lisa's birthday). In season 2, she appeared to bypass Whitney to greet Jennie at Angie's event. Once again, Lisa says the audience isn't getting to see the full experience on screen.
"I am completely not dismissive," Lisa declares. "I did not blow Heather off. If you notice, I turned back to her and then she was already engaged in another conversation. And what you didn't see is I sat by Heather on a sofa and I said, 'What's going on? How are you Heather?' And she's turned her back to me and said, 'I'm just being Heather Gay.' And I'm like, 'What does that mean?' And she's like, 'Being fabulous.' And she ignored me the whole night."
"She came with an objective to be icy and you don't get to see everything," she continues. "And with Whitney, if you notice, when I'm walking in the room, you can hear my very distinct voice say, 'Hey, Whitney,' and ... I'm going to break the fourth wall a little bit, I had to open up to a camera. I have to turn and have face in camera, you don't want your back to the camera. So after I hugged Jennie, I opened up and you can interpret that any way."
Instead, Lisa says she knows Heather and Whitney to be what they accuse her of being, pointing to an exchange she had at the season 1 reunion with Heather, which seemingly occurred when Heather assumed cameras were down.
"You're in last place, if you don't know," Heather told Lisa. "In life. With me, for sure."
"Heather, do you see how mean you are?" Lisa asked back. "Yes, I do," Heather replied. "It's a defense mechanism."
"That's the Heather I know," Lisa tells ET. "That's the Heather I'm with most of the time. I mean, there's stuff you guys don't see where she's like, 'I love jabbing you and I'm not going to stop.' And I'm just like, OK. Keep coming."
"I'm not the one with the PhD," she adds, poking fun at Whitney's joke from episode 4. "Clearly she failed a lot, though."
Soon, caterer-gate will be just a blip on the RHOSLC radar, as Jen's legal battle is soon to pull focus and change the course of season 2. Federal authorities accused the reality star of operating a telemarketing scheme that, according to documents obtained by ET, targeted "vulnerable, often elderly working class people." She was arrested in March (as Housewives cameras rolled) and, in April, Jen pleaded not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. She faces up to 30 years in prison if found guilty. The season kicked off with a look at the chaotic moments surrounding Jen's arrest.
"I think everybody was just in the moment living and you see a lot of raw emotions," Lisa says. "Like, what we go through when the feds show up, homeland security, the FBI, how we're all reacting to that. We had no time to process. Like, you're seeing our raw [reactions]. You see us go through the roller coaster of emotions."
"At first, I was worried," she shares. "Then upset, then angry, then hurt, then mad. Then feeling bad for her. You're going through all these emotions with us."
A big question surrounding the cast in the months after Jen's arrest has been, why support her? Those who do have said, that's what friends do -- Lisa included. However, the better question might be, why do they want to be friends with Jen? Nearly everyone on the cast has gotten into it with her, or been the recipient of her explosive and often uncalled-for reactions. Much of season 2's early drama has focused on Heather and Meredith's pain from Jen-related issues stemming from the first season.
"They have a very, very weird dynamic with Jen," Lisa points out. "I mean, it's literally so bizarre. I don't even understand it."
Heather confronted Jen over hurtful social media posts and private messages made about the Beauty Lab + Laser owner, including claims that she's a racist as well as repeated attacks on her physical appearance. Meanwhile, Meredith is holding Jen accountable for other social media posts, including likes and shares of hateful comments made about Meredith's son, Brooks, who frequently appears on the show. In both cases, Jen tried to deny she said or endorsed any such remarks (despite screenshots saying otherwise), then deflected and projected -- to borrow a phrase from Meredith -- by bringing up pain she says she feels. She regularly makes reference to her two sons and life as a person of color in Utah, things that the rest of the women seem to agree don't have anything to do with the issues in question.
"I didn't really know Jen Shah last year," Lisa admits. "I didn't spend a ton of time with her. ... [But] you see a little bit of it on the show, and you can see in her confessionals: When you're just getting 'fun Jen,' Jen is animated. She's so fun. She's a part of this group and no one wants to exclude her from this, right? Has she done hurtful things? Absolutely. I think that when she feels hurt, she matches that. Whatever she's feeling, she gives back to you. Is it OK? No. It's not OK. It's not OK for anyone to be awful."
On a recent episode, Jen complained about being made to feel like she's to blame for all friction in the group, and like the apologies she's given in the past -- most notably at the season 1 reunion -- weren't accepted, or good enough for her co-stars. However, she also acts a bit like anything she did in season 1 ended with season 1, and that's not the case. Lisa says to stay tuned, though, promising she knows Jen is capable of owning mistakes and growing.
"I'm not defending Jen, I'm an observer here," she notes. "I think that Jen felt like, 'I apologized for all this at the reunion.' ... Jen did a lot of mean things and they were all outed."
Lisa says an important piece of information here is, much of what the cast is upset with Jen about in season 2 was addressed between seasons. These comments, however, resurfaced at the start of production, reopening wounds Jen assumed were closed.
"I don't look for negative comments online," Lisa offers, positioning herself as a bit of an impartial party to this drama. "I don't have the energy or time for it. So, I'm not looking for things people said mean about me so I can have it stashed away. I just don't really care. But I think for other girls, it's really hurtful and hard for them to keep reliving it."
"Especially Meredith," she continues. "I love my friend Meredith, and I think she was deeply impacted. I've known Meredith for a long time. She was a different person over the last two years. Just very angry, very upset, very hurt."
That hurt bled into Meredith and Lisa's relationship, with Meredith alleging that Lisa wanted to ignore Jen's attacks on Brooks and refused to look at receipts Meredith had collected. Lisa says that's not the case.
"She sent me the [screenshots], and she sent them to me again because they were resurfacing," Lisa recalls. "I didn't need to see them again. I believed her the first time and I addressed it with Jen. ... Meredith knows, I have talked to Jen."
It all came to a head on the group's ice-fishing day, with Lisa playing mediator on ice between her two pals.
"Meredith, literally the day after ice fishing, called me and said, 'That's the first time I've slept in months,'" Lisa divulges. "She felt relieved that she could just get that off her chest, tell Jen. They had a very long, hard-hitting conversation. Jen apologized. You'll see that Jen apologizes to Brooks coming up."
"I feel I do a really good job of bringing the truth to light and addressing who's in the wrong," she adds. "For me, it's logical and let's deal with-- I like facts."
In the spirt of clearing things up, Lisa makes it known that she does not think her issues with Heather are at an equal level of hurt as the Jen vs. Brooks of it all, a comparison Meredith drove home in the season 2 premiere.
"Does it carry the same weight? No," she says. "But does it hurt? Absolutely."
The Meredith-Jen saga is far from over, as teasers for the season promise heated exchanges between the two as more information about Jen's case comes to light. In the first trailer, Lisa tells the group, "Meredith knows a lot," a line that's only added weight to the theory Meredith helped the FBI in their case against Jen (a claim Meredith has denied, repeatedly).
"Meredith knows a lot," Lisa repeats when asked about the comment. "Meredith went to law school. Meredith knows a lot. Meredith is very smart."
And as if all of the above weren't enough to make a season of Housewives must-see TV, there are also cult allegations to come. Rumors circulated as soon as Bravo announced the cast last year that Mary Cosby, the First Lady of Faith Temple, a pentecostal church, was actually running a cult. Mary has denied these allegations, but in a sneak peek at future episodes, Lisa sits down with a former member of the congregation -- Cameron Williams -- who flat out says, it's all true.
"Most of us girls know Mary because Cameron," Lisa notes. "Cameron moved here from Chicago ... so when he moved to Utah from Chicago, a good way to get community, especially as a Black man moving to Utah, he went and found a church, and he found Faith Temple. And he found Faith Temple through a woman that he was dating. And she went to Mary's church. So, that became his community here in Utah."
"I became friends with Cameron over five years ago," she continues. "And he hadn't really gone into a lot about his experience with Mary, but he did tell me he had spiritual trauma and he-- I mean, spiritual trauma's real. And I feel like everything he said, I believe him. Those are his experiences. I had no other reason. I believe Cameron. Everything he said to me, I 100 percent believe, and I think it's going to be interesting for all of you to see and hear what Cameron had to say. But one of the things Cameron said that I will never forget, and I tell my kids, 'God is not the boogeyman. God is in everything good.'"
"That's a little emotional for me, because I love Cameron and I miss him," Lisa shares, tearing up. When asked if believing Cameron means she does not believe Mary, Lisa offers back the following: "I believe my friend a hundred percent on his feelings. Those are his feelings. Those are his feelings, and I believe that he felt all of those things. I believe that those were his experiences -- and I'm not judging Mary off of anything he said. It's, you know, I just believe my friend. And I think that's a fair statement."
Lisa makes it clear, too, that she did not intend to investigate these rumors surrounding Mary, and viewers may be surprised at how they surface on the show.
"I haven't dug into anything about Mary's church," she declares. "I'm not interested. I don't go there. I'm not a member. It's really none of my business."