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Pop CultureJuly 25, 2017

Unbelievably, Real Housewife Julia Sloane is plotting a comeback from her racist infamy


She became an international pariah after uttering the worst racial slur on The Real Housewives of Auckland. Now Julia Sloane is apparently plotting a comeback with a feature-length documentary, reports Duncan Greive.

Julia Sloane, the star of Real Housewives of Auckland caught up in a racism scandal, is plotting a return to the screen, The Spinoff has learned. The project is a feature-length documentary, featuring Sloane taking a “wise and sometimes sardonic view of the subject matter,” according to John Davies, the project’s producer.

While Davies would not be drawn on what the documentary covers, The Spinoff understands it is an exploration of sexuality in New Zealand. “We’re having a lot of fun making it,” said Davies.

Sloane, who describes herself as “the ultimate Parnell darling”, became instantly infamous in September of 2016 after an episode in which she referred to fellow-contestant Michelle Blanchard as a “boat n*****”. Blanchard, who is black, was mortified by the slur, and the episode sparked controversy around the world, aided by the combative response of Sloane and her husband Michael Lorimer. The pair attempted to push blame onto the Real Housewives production, and later had lawyers intercede with the Human Rights Commission, accusing them of bullying Sloane in a months-long dispute. (The HRC “vehemently deny” the couple’s allegations).

The documentary, then, appears to be an attempt to slough off the taint of Real Housewives and re-emerge into public life. Sloane has already hinted at it in a comment for the Herald’s Spy magazine over the weekend, in a story headlined ‘Plastic Fantastic: Real Housewife’s new assets’, centring on recent breast augmentation surgery. Within she mentions a sixth book coming out in September (Sloane is a children’s author) and a “top secret project in pre-production”.

We thought this, at the end of RHOKL, was the last we’d see of Julia Sloane

Davies confirmed that he is the producer, saying “we’re making a documentary – she’ll be hosting it”. He named the director as Lisa Burd, a Real Housewives field producer, who last year made the award-winning documentary Monterey.

When asked who is financing the documentary, he would only say it was “privately funded”. Asked if it was Sloane herself, he said it was not, though when asked if it was her husband, Lorimer, he said “It’s privately funded. End of discussion.” (The Spinoff has approached Lorimer for confirmation; he had not responded at the time of publication).

Davies is a former owner of the Academy Cinema in central Auckland. His association with the cinema ended badly, effectively liquidated after 18 months’ failure to pay rent to its landlord, the Auckland Council. He has worked as a producer since, he says, with “five or six low budget feature films” and “30 corporate films” to his credit.

The prospect of working with talent most famous for provoking an international outcry over the use of a racial slur does not bother him. “I think I’ve got a more sympathetic view [of Sloane],” he say, while also claiming not to have seen the relevant episode.

“You’re not talking to someone who spends their life watching reality TV,” he says. “I haven’t gone from arthouse productions to reality TV in the past five years.”

Davies says he anticipates shooting wrapping by the end of the year, followed by post-production early in 2018, with a view to distribution in “festival-type locations” later in the year.

Calls have been placed to Sloane’s representatives for comment

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