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Andy Cohen Addresses ‘Alarming’ Antisemitism in U.S. amid Lizzy Savetsky’s Sudden Exit from ‘RHONY’ Reboot

Andy Cohen, lizzy savetsky

Andy Cohen, lizzy savetsky

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty; Sean Zanni/Getty

Andy Cohen is opening up about antisemitism in America amid Bravo newcomer Lizzy Savetsky‘s recent experience.

Following Savetsky’s Real Housewives of New York City reboot departure announcement, Cohen addressed the matter, as well as the larger problem occurring in the U.S.

“I can confirm that she is leaving, unfortunately,” Cohen, 54, exclusively tells PEOPLE while promoting the launch of Fresca Mixed, the beverage brand’s new alcoholic seltzer line.

He continued, “What I can also tell you is that when I’ve spoken out against antisemitism, the response that I’ve gotten has been quite alarming.”

Cohen says that “we’re living in really messed up, weird times right now.”

He notes, “I think social media makes it a whole lot worse. It’s a really rough time. As a Jewish American, it saddens me to see what’s happening with antisemitism.”

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The cast of RHONY‘s 14th season was announced in October during a taping of Watch What Happens Live at BravoCon 2022. Savetsky was set to star alongside Sai De Silva, Ubah Hassan, Erin Dana Lichy, Jenna Lyons, Jessel Taank and Brynn Whitfield.

Production on the new season has already begun and it’s set to premiere next year. But Savetsky publicized her decision to leave on Wednesday, citing “a torrent of antisemitic attacks” as the reason for her abrupt exit.

“I will not be continuing on the Real Housewives of NYC,” she wrote on Instagram. “As a proud orthodox Jewish woman, I thought participating in this series would be a great chance to represent people like me and share my experience. Unfortunately, from the time of my announcement in the cast, I was on the receiving end of a torrent of antisemitic attacks.”

She continued, “As this continued, I realized that this path was no longer right for me and my family. I’m looking forward to my next chapter. Stay tuned — and thank you for your support!”

In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Bravo explained that “after thoughtful consideration and discussion with Lizzy, we have reached the mutual conclusion that Lizzy will not be a cast member on RHONY.”

Sources close to production told PEOPLE that Savetsky had stopped filming nearly two weeks ago.

Lizzy Savetsky

Lizzy Savetsky

Lizzy Savetsky/instagram

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News of Savetsky’s departure comes amid an increased presence of antisemitism in pop culture.

Kanye West came under fire recently after he threatened to go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” His comments sparked backlash from his celebrity peers and led to the termination of several of his business ventures, resulting in the loss of his billionaire status.

Kyrie Irving was also suspended by the Brooklyn Nets after sharing a link to an antisemitic movie on social media. In response to the criticism, the 30-year-old NBA star said he “meant no harm to any one group, race or religion of people” and that he wants to be a “beacon of truth and light.”

Irving and the Brooklyn Nets said they will both be donating $500,000 to organizations in an effort to “eradicate hate and intolerance.”

Dave Chappelle recently addressed West and Irving’s comments during his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live, though his own remarks also elicited backlash.

“I’ve been to Hollywood and — no one get mad at me — I’m just telling you what I saw,” he said earlier this month. “It’s a lot of Jews. Like a lot. But that doesn’t mean anything! You know what I mean? Because there are a lot of Black people in Ferguson, Missouri, it doesn’t mean we run the place.”

Chappelle added that a “delusion that Jews run show business” is “not a crazy thing to think,” but “it’s a crazy thing to say out loud.”

Jerry Seinfeld responded to Chappelle’s monologue earlier this week, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “I did think the comedy was well-executed. But I think the subject matter calls for a conversation that I don’t think I’d want to have in this venue.”

He added, It provokes a conversation which hopefully is productive.”

Seinfeld also noted that he doesn’t consider Chapelle to be a dear friend, saying, “I don’t have a close relationship with him. We’re friends and it’s not a close relationship.”