What Is Happening in Tom Sandoval’s Brain?

Photo: River Callaway/Variety via Getty Images

Amazingly, it hasn’t even been a year since Scandoval first took over our brains. Eleven months later, we’ve heard takes about the now-infamous Bravo cheating scandal from pundits, Bravolebrities, actual celebrities, and, of course, the Vanderpump Rules cast. Why did an affair between reality-TV castmates become an international news sensation? Tom Sandoval, the man at the center of it all, has some theories.

In a new cover story for The New York Times Magazine, Sandoval opined about why the scandal got so much attention: “I’m not a pop-culture historian really, but I witnessed the O.J. Simpson thing and George Floyd and all these big things, which is really weird to compare this to that, I think, but do you think in a weird way it’s a little bit the same?”

Excuse me? To recap: Sandoval skyrocketed to fame for cheating on his girlfriend of nine years, Ariana Madix, with their friend and castmate Raquel Leviss. On the other hand, O.J. Simpson — a Black NFL star — made headlines when he was tried and acquitted for allegedly murdering his wife, while the murder of George Floyd — also a Black man — by police in Minnesota sparked protests for racial justice across the globe. Impressively, Sandoval wasn’t even done offering bizarre comparisons to his own situation that no one asked for. He also told the Times that he feels like he was vilified for cheating on Madix more than Danny Masterson, the former That 70s Show actor currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for rape, was for rape. “I feel like I got more hate than Danny Masterson and he’s a convicted rapist,” he said.

It didn’t take long after the story made the rounds for Sandoval to reconsider his remarks. “My intentions behind the comments I made in New York Times Magazine were to explain the level of national media attention my affair received,” Sandoval told the Cut via an emailed statement from a representative (which he also posted to his Instagram story). “The comparison was inappropriate and ignorant. I’m incredibly sorry and embarrassed.”

Scandoval, as the cheating scandal was dubbed, earned Vanderpump Rules record ratings and an Emmy nomination. And while Madix got deals with brands and her shot on Broadway, Sandoval quickly became the universal example of a bad boyfriend. He’s been compared to Donald Trump, called a narcissist, a “worm with a mustache,” and worse. But fortunately for Sandoval, he doesn’t seem to see it that way. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been single as a celebrity,” he told the Times. “I’m not saying I’m a favorite celebrity, but still just having some notoriety and being single, it’s a cool muscle to flex.” Congrats, dude?

This post has been updated.

What Is Happening in Tom Sandoval’s Brain?