For the next two weeks, VH1.com is bringing you Keeping It 100, a look back at the major moments from VH1’s biggest shows this past year, as told by the people who lived them.
In an exclusive conversation with VH1, Shaunie O’Neal opened up about the moment she thanked Brandi Maxiell for “her services” in the season finale of Basketball Wives LA.
When Brandi called me a b—h in Puerto Rico, honestly I was totally shocked. I didn’t see that coming at all. We had a pretty decent trip and I wasn’t involved in the drama. The way Brandi said I looked down on them really shocked me.
First of all, let me say it’s hard to be a cast member and a producer on Basketball Wives because I have to wear both hats. I have to make sure we have a good show along with maintaining my relationships with the ladies. The ladies are gonna ask me questions about scheduling, they’ll give me their complaints about who they don’t wanna talk to, and all that but I still have to film with them. I walk a very narrow line of being cool with everybody most of the time, but then when we’re filming things can happen. All the ladies have my phone number and we’ve all been to lunch outside of the show. Of all the ladies this season, Brandi is one of the cast members that actually called me a lot. She always needed some reassurance that she was okay. A lot of, “You are happy with me, right?” Or, “Everything is okay?” She is just one of those people. So, because we had that sort of relationship, I just don’t know where that “B—h” came from.
I don’t know if Brandi was trying really hard, thinking, “Let me go after Shaunie because nobody does.” I think she came to dinner with a “Let me have this moment” attitude. When I said, “Thank you for your services,” I really wanted her to know that she was appreciated on the show. I wanted her to know, I appreciate you being here, being a cast member, sharing your story, and your life, hence thank you for your services. At the same time, you can walk away. You don’t have to be here because you are receiving a check for this. It’s not free services that you are giving. So I thought, “Thank you and if you feel that you are not appreciated and that I am looking down on you and you are not in a comfortable work environment, then this probably isn’t for you.” All of that was in my mind when I said thank you for your services. Bye, bye. Know you are appreciated. This is a business. Brandi and I are not friends like that. I don’t have that much invested personally with Brandi Maxiell, and probably never will. We are co-workers that have a cordial interaction. I am cool with her and I wish no bad things upon her.
Between the time that we wrapped and the reunion, I heard from Brandi 20 times to get reassurance that she would come back to the show. She said, “I am not fired, am I? You didn’t really fire me, did you? I apologize. I didn’t really mean that. I was amped up and I was trying to make good TV. Blah, blah, blah, I love you.” I got a million of those calls from her before the reunion because she wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to keep keep going at the reunion. “You are not gonna say I am fired at the reunion, are you? That’s not gonna be a surprise moment?” I had no intentions of doing that because this is a business and when I thanked her for her services, I didn’t fire her on that level. I just wanted to convey, you can keep it pushing if that’s how you feel but understand that you receive a check for this and I treat you just like I treat everyone else. What she was talking about was straight bullshit and that attacked my character.
As far as whether or not Malaysia got up with Brandi, I like Malaysia but she never left that table. It’s funny. Tami called me when she saw them on social media. Brandi was saying that Malaysia got up and I think Malaysia said she got up and Tami said, “See that ain’t right. They’re just going to blatantly lie like there weren’t four other people at that table.” After our argument, Brandi left and we couldn’t see her but the crew off camera said that she cried and got emotional. Then she gathered herself up and came back to my side of my table and pulled my chair out. Brandi is a strong girl, so she pulled my chair out and sat on my lap and gave me a hug and told me she was sorry. Everybody else is sitting when this was happening so I have several witnesses. She gave me a hug and said, “Don’t be mad at me, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.” It happened immediately and she’s sitting in my lap doing all of this. I can’t remember if cameras were still rolling or not, but the whole crew and all of the other cast members witnessed this whole moment.
I’m not mad at Brandi for having an opinion because if she feels like I am a b—h, that’s her opinion and everybody is entitled to one, but please don’t continue to put yourself be in this environment. When we left the reunion, in my mind, Brandi was going to be a returning of next season and I hope she will be. Now, how much of next season she will be involved is another question. I have not talked to her and probably will not until we get ready to get film.
As told to Damian Bellino