"That would be a cast and Bravo decision," the reality star said
PEOPLE broke the news on Tuesday that the Bravo breakout — who made her debut on the franchise in season 4 — will not be joining costars Heather Gay, Meredith Marks, Lisa Barlow, Whitney Rose and Angie Katsanevas when cameras pick back up next month for season 5.
And if there was any question about whether she made that choice, she set that straight in an interview with The Cut published Wednesday.
"That would be a cast and Bravo decision," Garcia, 40, told the outlet. "It would not have been my decision."
Producers confirmed the news of Garcia's departure Tuesday evening in an interview with Variety. Shed Media SVP Lisa Shannon noted the cast needed "a minute" to regroup before the Feb. 5 start date.
“The women just need a cooling off period, and I think it’s just too soon,” showrunner Lori Gordon said. "They’ve articulated it. It’s too soon for them to reenter into a friendship — a trusting friendship. Not enough time has passed."
A source confirms to PEOPLE that the door is not fully closed on Garcia's role on the show, noting that she could still "make a return down the line" if something shifts within the group.
"This is a show about friendships and ultimately, if you don't have a friendship with anyone else on the cast, it's hard to have you there," the insider said. "If the women can find it in their hearts to forgive Monica one day, then it would only be natural to see her there. But right now, there's no resolution."
Viewers saw that clearly on Tuesday's third and final part of the RHOSLC reunion, where Garcia was confronted about being one of the voices behind RealityVonTease, an Instagram troll account that's had a history of posting negative things about the RHOSLC stars.
Garcia owned up to posting on the account when Gay exposed her during the dramatic season 4 finale in Bermuda but claimed that she was only one of multiple people who ran the Finsta and insisted she did it to expose former friend and RHOSLC alum Jen Shah, who is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for her role in a long-running telemarketing scheme.
None of her costars appeared to believe Garcia. Gay later said on WWHL that the group had bonded over having a "common enemy" and that Garcia had never genuinely apologized or explained herself in any way that would want them to forgive her.
Asked why she didn't apologize, Garcia told The Cut, "I am sorry that I ever involved myself in this account and that I got myself in this situation. The reason why I did not apologize is because I am not going to give a fake apology. At that moment, I did not have it in me to apologize, because the women were relentless. I felt like they still weren’t willing to hear me."
"I want to get to a place where I can actually sit down and have a civil conversation about this and give a genuine apology," she added. "But at the reunion, on that stage, in the situation I was in, it would not have been a real apology, so why even say it?"
But that, according to Cohen, was Garcia's biggest mistake. "The reunion is the chance to come out, say why you did [and] what you didn’t on the season. It’s the Supreme Court of public opinion,” he noted on his Sirius XM radio show on Wednesday. "So Monica I think had the opportunity, not only to explain herself to the audience, but way more importantly in this case, to the other women. And I don’t think she successfully swayed any of them to her side.”
He went on to note that everyone in the cast "all expressed they very much don’t trust her."
"What I was also asking was: Is there a path forward for you and Monica? And the answer was no all around," said Cohen. "So I think that it’s best — we all discussed it ad nauseam — that it would be best to let this one breathe for a while.”
"She’s obviously really compelling television," Cohen added of Garcia. "Maybe she’ll be able to build some inroads with the women on her own, off camera. And we’ll see if that happens.”
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