Bria Fleming feared being ‘raped’ during terrifying French arrest
Bria Fleming, the star of Bravo’s latest reality show, “Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard,” has shared details of a traumatic encounter with police in Cannes, France, during a recent interview on TheFantasyTimes’s “Virtual Reali-Tea” podcast. Fleming recounts feeling scared and confused during her arrest, as she was unaware of the proper procedures in France. She feared for her safety, thinking she and her sister could be beaten or raped. The sisters were taken into custody on May 20, accused of robbing a woman in a Zara store. Fleming claims they were subjected to an illegal strip search, drug and alcohol testing, and were not provided with a translator, causing further distress. With the help of a German-speaking detective and her lawyer, Fleming and her sister were eventually released, but they are now fighting for justice. Marco, Fleming’s boyfriend, believes racism may have played a role in the arrest. “Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard” airs on Bravo. If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Bria Fleming, star of Bravo’s new reality show “Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard,” is ready to detail a terrifying police incident that took place last month in Cannes, France.
“Every country’s different when you’re under arrest and I’m like, ‘I don’t know what the procedure is here.’ … So I thought we were going to get either beat up, raped and I just couldn’t feel my heart,” she recounts in a joint interview with boyfriend Simon Marco on TheFantasyTimes’s “Virtual Reali-Tea” podcast.
“And I was just crying like, ‘Why are you guys doing this?’ And they were like, ‘Shh, don’t talk, don’t talk.’”
Fleming, 28, and her younger sister were taken into custody on May 20 in the South of France, where the Bravolebrity and her German beau were celebrating their one-year anniversary as a couple amid the glamorous backdrop of the Cannes Film Festival.
Authorities alleged that a woman called the police, accusing the siblings of robbing her inside a Zara store, ultimately leading to their arrest. Fleming claims they were stripped-searched multiple times during an hours-long ordeal at a French police station laden with male inmates.
“They did a butt naked strip search to the crack, like, ‘Bend over, let’s see.’ Took off my earrings, my extensions,” the fashion entrepreneur tells us.
“Then they did a drug and alcohol testing down there. They weren’t supposed to do that as well,” she continues, further alleging that the foreign cops “did a lot of illegal corrupted stuff.”
Fleming, who isn’t fluent in French, was not provided with a translator when she and her sister arrived at the police station, she claims. The inability to communicate unnerved the ladies, clad in cocktail dresses after a day of socializing and shopping on the swanky Croisette.
Fleming notes that she was even fearful they were being “kidnapped.”
“When we got to the police station, we weren’t able to call our family and let [them] know. My sister had her phone and she snuck the location to Simon,” she explains.
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“So no one would have known and that’s why I was calling it a kidnap because [the police] took us off the street, told me a lady said I robbed her and I am a suspect.”
When Marco arrived at the police station, he says he went “crazy” on the officers.
“And then finally one detective came out and he lived in Germany for six years so he could speak German. And then I explained … that she’s on TV, that she has money, that she doesn’t have to steal from anyone,” he tells us.
“And then he’s like, ‘Obviously, it’s a misunderstanding.’ And then he apologized to me.”
Fleming remembers Marco “going nuts,” forcefully telling police, “You better release my girlfriend, you have the wrong person, I don’t know why you stopped her and her sister!”
She asserts that she never had “any interactions with a lady” while shopping, and is therefore perplexed by the accusation leveled against her and her sister.
“We think it was kind of like an illegal search and that the police kind of made up that it’s a lady who said that [I] robbed her,” she claims. “Because I’m like, ‘How can I get away with robbing someone in public?’ Like, how can I rob somebody? Where is the footage of me robbing?’”
After a bit of advocacy from the German-speaking detective, Fleming and her sister were released — though they were allegedly made to remove their clothing once more before departing the station.
“Then they made me sign papers in French — also illegal — so I didn’t know what I signed,” she claims. “They said they wouldn’t let me leave unless I signed it. And they didn’t give me the police report, they said I’m not entitled to that. They wouldn’t give me the paper that I signed. They were just like, ‘Bye.’”
Later in the day, Fleming returned to the police station with a translator and determined that authorities “had given us a fake case number.”
However, she says her “amazing” attorney was able to locate the case because her sister’s name was registered in the system.
Now, Fleming, her sister and their legal counsel are fighting for justice — and answers.
“They didn’t know that we could hire a lawyer. They knew we were Americans and they kept on saying, ‘They’re Americans.’ But somebody who was overseeing it was just like, ‘Nah, f—k that. Let’s just take them in,’” she recalls.
“We got a good lawyer. And we involved the U.S. consulate and we called the embassy and mayor of Cannes. So all these people are very disappointed that this happened and now they’re launching a big investigation.”
Marco, for his part, believes racism may have played a role in the arrest.
“I told them this is obviously racial profiling,” he says, acknowledging that he shared this opinion directly with the French police.
“Like, I don’t want to make any claims at this point what could be the case,” Marco elaborates. “I’m just saying this is completely wrong. The police can come … and take you into custody and strip you butt naked without giving you your rights, so that’s completely corrupt.”
“Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.