Deceit and manipulation are nothing new, for the cast of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
A scandalous lie from the past lit off fireworks, during a recently aired cast trip to Vermont. Jacqueline Laurita pointed to the tawdry rumor of Season 4, in an attempt to force Melissa Gorga to acknowledge her unwavering loyalty.
Jacqueline’s friendship with Melissa has taken a nosedive in the wake of Melissa’s recommitted love-fest with her sister-in-law, Teresa Giudice. “Strippergate,” referring to a lie aimed to expose Melissa’s naked past was revisited during a cast dinner, but the facts were met with noisy resistance. The tawdry set-up led straight to Teresa — the star who was seething with resentment, because her sister-in-law had invaded her reality turf.
Jacqueline brought up the past drama to prove a point — and Teresa protested, Melissa played dumb, and Jacqueline was hung out to dry.
Penny Drossos Karagiorgis spoke to AllAboutTheTea.Com — to clarify exactly what went down during the set-up stripper scandal of Season 4. Penny employed Angelo Vorhees at her salon at the time — the man who was recruited to expose Melissa’s supposed dirty dancer past. Teresa and Angelo crossed paths at Penny’s salon, the day the stripper bomb was dropped.
We asked Penny exactly how she was approached with the plan to set up Melissa, and how Teresa Giudice factored into the strategy.
“Teresa never directly approached me [about the setup]….it was Kim D. who came first,” Penny explained. “When I asked her if Teresa would be ok with it, the answer was yes. After going back and forth, Teresa gave the go-ahead, but told me that her name could never be mentioned.”
Teresa gasps and clutches her pearls every time “Strippergate” is mentioned — but how deeply involved was she? Up to her shifty criminal eyeballs, according to Penny.
“Teresa knew everything, step by step, what was going to take place. She was the one who wanted someone who worked with Melissa to come forward, so she couldn’t deny it,” revealed Penny.
Penny echoes the info that Jacqueline shared on social media, as the drama played out.
“Teresa told me that ‘rumor’ about Melissa when she first started the show,” Jacqueline tweeted. “She wanted her out then. She knew. She plotted it. She played dumb on camera and even defended Melissa.”
Angelo claimed that he once managed Melissa at Lookers Gentleman’s Club, in Elizabeth, N.J, but Melissa was actually hired by Larry Guarino to fill a bartender spot. Angelo used the September of 2011 Posche fashion show to spew the false allegation about Melissa, while Bravo cameras were rolling. The Season 3 reunion episode was shot the day after that chaotic night. Teresa had implicated Jacqueline — who was so distraught about the lie, that she bailed on the reunion taping.
“I can’t be part of the charade anymore,” Jacqueline wrote in a social media post. “It’s unsettling. It’s disturbing & against what I stand for. I’m a REAL housewife.”
It’s years later — and Teresa is still denying playing any role in the plot to slam Melissa’s rep. The stakes have shifted, in light of Teresa’s new lovey dynamic with her sister bestie. The scene in Vermont revealed Melissa moving to deliberately shut out the truth — turning a blind eye to the fact that Teresa had strategized to drop lies about her brother’s wife.
What are Penny’s current thoughts on Teresa’s stubborn denial?
“I think Teresa denying it shows what a coward she is. I’ll never forget her saying to me as we were having dessert at Cafe Neo — I need to act like I don’t know you — I can’t have this backfire on me. I can’t let my brother know that I had anything to do with this,” Penny spilled. “Yes, I took the fall for her, and what a fool I was to believe someone like her! Late night phone calls…texts…then deny. Please — she needs help and so do I, for falling for her shit!”
We asked Penny how it felt to have her late husband’s name dragged into the dialogue, as Teresa continued to deny any shady motives aimed at Melissa.
“Teresa saying John’s name was disgusting! This was really the only thing that made me nuts, because I haven’t been on Twitter for awhile and I really don’t care wtf she does. I honestly have other things to worry about,” Penny said. “But to talk about John infuriated me.”
— Penny Drossos (@PDKhair) October 3, 2016
Penny concluded her comments with a veiled warning — directed at Teresa.
“She better tread lightly. I do have his phone and all of her text messages of how she wanted things done, so nothing came back to her,” Penny reveals. “I know how she wanted the finale episode to go — but I guess I didn’t play by her rules.”
Penny exonerated Jacqueline and nailed Teresa. But blood — especially the type spilled for Bravo — is thicker than the truth.
Becca is a Senior Editor for All About The Tea. She’s a coastal girl who loves the outdoors, and writing about the sneaky and silly side of reality TV. Her bio is short, but her snark is endless. She loves writing for the sharpest posters in the world.