PETA joins team Ariana against Tom Sandoval ahead of Vanderpump Rules season 11

By Fleurine Tideman

Published Jan 8, 2024 at 05:08 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

2023 was not Vanderpump Rules cast member Tom Sandoval’s year, even though he’ll have you believing otherwise. In reality, it was the year of Scandoval—a twisted and drama-filled masterpiece that had an entire nation gripped. Not since Brangelina has an affair taken the world by such storm.

After almost ten years, Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix of Vanderpump Rules broke up. Why? Because Madix discovered that Sandoval had been having a 23-month-long affair with her best friend, Rachel Leviss. You can’t make up trauma like this.

@peacock

The Halloween costume came back to haunt him 👻 Part 3 of the #PumpRules reunion (the extended and 🤬uncensored🤬 version) is streaming now on Peacock. #Ariana #Raquel #Sandoval #Scandoval #Vanderpump #VanderpumpRules

♬ Peacock_PumpRules_Halloween - Peacock

But, I’m not here to tell you all about the seedy details of Scandoval like the lightning bolt necklace and dead dog (I’ll stop now, I promise). Scandoval is old news, right?

Wrong. Let’s just say there’ll be no “new year, new me” for this certain bartender/ terrifying musician, as it seems as though the scandal has followed him into 2024. 

Since the relationship havoc hit during the summer of 2023 the primary subject of the drama, Sandoval himself, has been working hard on his public image. Instead of taking the easy route and simply giving an honest apology without excuses, the reality TV star decided to take a supposed hero’s route to redemption.

First off, Sandoval went on Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, an endurance show which sees groups of celebrities face incredibly harsh physical tasks and challenges. Some of Tommy’s most memorable moments have to be when he cried about everyone hating him (relatable) and, most iconically, when he was carried by the bow queen herself, Miss Jojo Siwa (girlie, give me that arm workout, please). 

@realityclubfox

it's giving girl boss! never underestimate the strength of a dancer. 💪 #SpecialForcesFOX #JoJoSiwa #TomSandoval #realitytv

♬ original sound - Reality Club FOX

The 40-year-old then had a brief and somewhat forgettable appearance on The Masked Singer. Following this, instead of taking some time offline to let everyone move on, Sandoval started his own podcast. In a fun and not agonising use of wordplay whatsoever, the TV star decided to name the series Everybody Loves Tom. I just can’t with this man. 

The podcast description read: “It’s been 7 months since Scandoval began, and now, Tom is FINALLY telling his side of things.”

Sorry, “since it began?” What does that exactly mean? Is it still going on? Is he cheating on Rachel with Lala or Katie? I had to look this up on Spotify for you, dear reader, which is a true sacrifice considering the damage it may inflict on my algorithm.

All this aside, my point is that Sandoval put in a lot of work rehabilitating his image. And yet, he’s managed to make another faux pas within weeks. You have to wonder what his PR team is even doing at this point.

The reality TV star recently took an Eat, Pray, Love-style trip to Asia to further find himself amid this very stressful time. While on his trip, Sandoval visited the beautiful country of Thailand and more specifically Tiger World.

In an Instagram Story, which was later reposted by a fan account for the Bravo show, Sandoval can be seen posing with captive tigers as they’re instructed to put their paws on his shoulders.

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A post shared by Vanderpump Rules and Memes (@pumprules)

I have to wonder what made him think this would go down well. Zoos already tend to be quite a hot water topic, and these tiger centres, in particular, are now recognized for their blatant animal abuse. It’s not 2014, we know better, and someone with a full PR team should definitely know better.

So, how did netizens respond to the video? Did they applaud him for being a badass 40-year-old man with a drugged grown tiger posing with him? Shockingly, no. Fans were wildly unimpressed by Sandoval willingly promoting such an obvious case of animal abuse.

Castmate Lala Kent took to Instagram to voice her disapproval, writing: “I am appalled by the photo my cast member took with a tiger in captivity. This topic has been close to my heart for many years. What is disguised as ‘fun’ and ‘cool’ is, in fact, animal abuse. It’s heartbreaking. I’ve made noise about educating yourselves and here I am to tell you again… Do not support places like this.”

Kent has been an avid supporter of animal rights organisation PETA for years, and even starred in a “Free the Orcas” ad for the animal rights organisation, alongside Sandoval’s ex-girlfriend Madix and fellow cast member Scheana Shay.

James Kennedy, another Vanderpump Rules star, also made his thoughts clear on the matter, stating “I would never go to a place like this” and that he “always found this cruel and so sad.”

Kennedy, best known for coming up with the ‘loving’ phrase to describe Sandoval: “Worm with a moustache,” has now clarified that Sandoval is simply “Just a Worm without a moustache now.” Good to know James.

That being said, it was PETA who really rose to the occasion. The animal rights organisation shared a statement directed to Sandoval, outlining the issue with such tiger centres and clarifying what an actual animal sanctuary is. They’ve offered their assistance in educating him further in the future, including personal contact information.

Well, I think it is pretty clear where PETA stands in the matter of Scandoval—I’d say firmly in the team Ariana camp. Sandoval has yet to respond to the matter or issue any sort of apology, I guess some habits really do follow us into the new year.

In fact, team Ariana is looking pretty bulky now. Aside from all of her castmates bar Tom Schwartz, several celebrities also clarified their opinions on the matter of Scandoval, including Kristin Chenoweth, Matt Rodgers, John Owen Lowe, and Karen Gillan.

Various brands have also jumped on the bandwagon, with candle company Improper Candles creating a team Ariana candle, described as having “top scent notes of resilience and bad b*tch energy.”

Let’s see what Sandoval pulls out of his hat to mop up this mess. Perhaps a stint on Survivor or rounding up celebs for a ‘We Are The World’ type performance. Let’s wait and begrudgingly see.

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