RHOP 's Michael Darby Sues Candiace-Dillard Bassett for $2 Million Over 'Insulting' Oral Sex Allegations
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Michael Darby (right) is suing Candiace-Dillard Bassett (left) over claims made on the show
Michael Darby is suing Candiace-Dillard Bassett over allegations she made about his sex life during a November episode of The Real Housewives of Potomac.
According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, Darby filed the defamation lawsuit over a comment Dillard-Bassett, 36, made during a season 7 episode, when she told the 63-year-old's estranged wife Ashley Darby, 34, that Michael "likes to leave you and go to a man named [censored's] house and suck his d---."
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Dillard-Bassett then stated in the episode that she "was not supposed to talk about this person, but he says Michael Darby is a client of his. That's what you're asking, cuz I was holding on to that," per the suit which was initially reported by TMZ.
"In making this statement, [Dillard-Bassett] initially hesitated and looked off-camera, indicated that what she about to say was salacious and imprudent, but nonetheless proceeded to intentionally utter the defamatory statement," Darby's lawyer asserted in the document.
PEOPLE has reached out to reps for Dillard-Bassett and RHOP for comment.
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Candiace-Dillard Bassett poses for a photo
The documents claim Dillard-Bassett's statements "falsely accuse Mr. Darby of committing a crime" under the laws of Virginia (where the Darbys live) and are therefore "actionable as insulting words because they are deemed to incite violence and/or breach the peace."
Darby's legal team allege Dillard-Basett's statements have prompted "public scorn, hatred, humiliation, ridicule, contempt and/or embarrassment," so the entrepreneur is seeking $2 million: $1 million in compensatory damages and another $1 million in punitive damages, as well as interest, attorney's fees and associated costs.
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In the documents, Darby's attorney also states that Dillard-Bassett "demonstrated knowledge that her statements were salacious, imprudent, and/or would be harmful to Mr. Darby's reputation," and were "intentional and borne out of evident hatred and disdain [Dillard-Bassett] has for Mr. Darby."
Darby's attorney also added that Darby contacted his costar on Jan. 17 "demanding [Dillard-Bassett] immediately cease and desist from publishing or making any further defamatory statements regarding Mr. Darby."
The filing continues, "To date, Defendant has not retracted or otherwise accounted for her defamatory statements."
Brian Stukes/Getty Images Michael and Ashley Darby in April 2019
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While Ashley and Michael announced their separation in April 2022 after eight years of marriage, the former couple had previously been at odds with Bassett and her husband Chris Bassett on the show, as Michael and Chris notably got into a physical fight at Robyn Dixon's annual holiday party in 2020.
After the fight, Candiace called Michael a "creep," to which Ashley responded that "there have been a lot of things said about my husband, and he has defended himself, and some people have viewed that to be disrespectful — and yet, it's okay to drag his name through the mud. That's not OK."
Chris responded, "You and my wife have gone back and forth for many years and I've never gotten involved. If I had an issue [with Michael] ... I would have gone to him at a separate time."
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The Real Housewives of Potomac airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.