Warning: This article contains potentially triggering descriptions of attempted sexual assault.
The recent firing of Luke Jones on Below Deck: Down Under made international headlines, reaching beyond Below Deck’s typical viewership. While Jones’ behavior was swiftly dealt with on the show with his firing by Captain Jason Chambers, the shocking scenes were a reminder that reality TV goes beyond just entertainment. The safety and well-being of the cast and crew is a delicate balance that needs to be upheld at all times.
Luke Jones’ recent firing was not the first to be featured on a Below Deck show. A number of former cast members were asked to leave the superyachts due to unacceptable behaviors, upsetting other crew members, and even occasionally breaking the law.
Down Under‘s Laura Bileskalne was fired in conjunction with Luke Jones’ attempted sexual assault of crewmate Margot Sisson, partly due to her victim-blaming comments in the aftermath. When Margot confided in Laura about Luke climbing into her bed naked while she was sleeping, Laura maintained that Luke was just joking, and that he “wouldn’t rape you or anything.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough, fellow crewmate Adam Kodra informed Captain Jason that Laura has been sexually harassing him. Despite rejecting her advances multiple times, Laura kept persisting with her attempt at flirting with Adam. Needless to say, Laura had to go.
After a period of escalating tension, Chandler Brooks was let go by Captain Jason in Below Deck season 6. Chandler, a bosun, showed a lack of respect and communication that angered Jason. Despite warnings over his morale and response to commands, his behavior didn’t change.
Most notably, he changed the deck crew’s radio frequency, meaning the captain couldn’t get through to the deck in an emergency. This endangered the ship’s entire crew, as well as all the passengers on board.
Similarly to Chandler, Chris Brown was fired by the Captain for failing to perform his duties. Jason grew tired of Chris’ bad attitude on board, perhaps perfectly encapsulated by Chris remarking “who gives a [crap]?” when leaving the ship for the final time.
It seems that Shane couldn’t wake up to the responsibilities of being a Deckard in season 8 of the show. Sleepy Shane frequently napped mid-shift and often arrived late to work because he overslept.
Now, Shane works as an environmental activist, so it’s good that he found a passion that gets him out of bed in the morning.
Kyle often kissed his fellow crewmates in front of passengers — something that probably put the diners off their meal. This already aggravated his superiors, but his fistfight with co-worker Nathan Morley was the final straw.
Captain Kerry Titheradge gave Kyle an ultimatum — either resign now, or stay on with a mark on his employment record. In the end, Kyle chose the former, lasting only three episodes in the series.
Delaney Evans was brought on as an assistant for the Chief Steward Katie Flood on Below Deck: Mediterranean. However, the chemistry just wasn’t right. For Katie, Delaney was a distraction while she tried to perform her senior duties.
In the end, Katie told Delaney she was “causing me more stress than good.” Moreover, a tearful Delaney just seemed overwhelmed with the demands of the job. Now, Delaney seems to work as a content creator on social media, which is much more fun to do.
Below Deck Med‘s Hannah Ferrier was fired for smuggling drugs onto the ship. Hannah took Valium, a legal prescription drug for anxiety, but the fact she did not declare possession of the drug when she boarded the ship resulted in her firing.
Hannah stated in an interview with E! Online that she was remorseful about the incident, and wished she declared the items instead of being sneaky. However, her infamous yawn during her firing probably meant she wasn’t a good fit for the strict rules of cabin life.
Elizabeth was fired after a series of incidents on the ship that failed to impress her superiors. After weeks of being on thin ice, the final straw seemed to be when she was caught sleeping in the guests’ cabins — something which would’ve likely enraged guests should she have been caught by them.
The deck crew decided that Elizabeth was too much of a risk to keep on. However, Elizabeth didn’t see things the same way in the reunion episode. She dubbed Chief Stew Francesca Rubi a “bully” for her behavior towards her in the lead-up to her departure.
With not much dedicated screen time to the incident, it is not entirely clear why Alissa Humber was let go. “Insubordination” was given as the official reason for her exit from the series, but the behavior classed as insubordination is not so obvious.
During her firing, Captain Sandy Yawn told her “respect for hierarchy is a must.” Previously, Alissa got into a feud with deck-stew Camille Lamb, resulting in Camille’s firing. Given Alissa’s firing shortly after, it is likely that Captain Sandy decided that Second Stew Alissa was the problem in the end.
Unlike many of Below Deck‘s crew, Peter Hunziker wasn’t fired by the captain — but by the Bravo network. On the show, “Party Pete” had been in trouble for sexism towards female colleagues, but his firing was a result of his bigotry on Instagram. In 2020, a rep for the show told People he was fired over “racist posts” on the app.
The offending image, captured by Taste of Reality, was picked up on by the network and Peter was fired from the show with immediate effect. His appearances in episodes were whittled down as much as possible in the post-production editing stage, in order to not give him a platform.
The most infamous of all Below Deck firings, Luke was fired by Captain Jason for sexual misconduct and what appeared to be an attempted rape. As caught by the camera crew, Luke crawled into Margot Sisson’s bed naked without her consent. When woken up, Margot said she had no idea Luke had managed to get into bed with her.
When the crew clocked what Luke was trying to do, they immediately forced him to leave. Luke repeatedly tried to kick the crew out of the room and lock the door, but the crew came to the rescue in the end. Luke was fired as soon as possible.
Chef Mila Kolomeitseva was fired from Below Deck Med after a series of bad judgments in the kitchen. The senior crew members were not impressed by her attempts to use jarred salsa and canned corn while cooking nachos, and even failed an attempt at making pancakes from a box she somehow managed to get a hold of. The guests on the posh superyacht would never approve.
Worst of all, Mila was caught licking a raw steak. Not only is this a serious violation of kitchen safety rules, but any guests or crew members who consumed the food could also have ended up becoming seriously ill.
Camille Lamb exited the St. David after an ongoing feud with Alissa Humber. Alissa was let go shortly after Camille, leading to Camille’s claim that she was unfairly dismissed. In a post-show interview with Bravo, Camille said Alissa’s firing “vindicated” her.
Unlike most of her fellow fired cast members, Camille ended up making a bit of a comeback. However, she was not there for long, and re-boarded to be reunited with boyfriend Ben Willoughby outside of working hours. Luckily, Captain Sandy didn’t see her.
Chef Ryan McKeown brought down the reputation of the ship’s catering crew, as his food — and attitude — left a bad taste in people’s mouths. Guests continuously complained about the disastrous meals he served up, notably during a fancy high tea that didn’t exactly exude high standards.
When confronted about the ongoing issues in the kitchen, Ryan told Chief Stew Aesha Scott to “stick to vacuums, I’ll stick to cooking.” It was clear Ryan had to go. When asked to leave by Captain Jason, Ryan bizarrely called him “a [freakin’] vagina” on the way out. Weird.
Deckhand Tom Pearson featured on Below Deck: Sailing Yacht, but was fired after one major mistake. When the yacht set sail, Tom failed to do his duty on anchor watch, causing the boat to drag. Worse still, the incident occurred during particularly windy weather.
Although it left the crew understaffed, Tom had to go, as he endangered the lives of everyone on board. It was better to be one man short than to let him continue. As he was tasked with anchor watch, Tom had failed the one job he had during his time on the show.
Just like Tom Pearson, Raygan Tyler was sacked from the show after serious safety concerns regarding her work. Captain Sandy of Below Deck Med let her go after seeing Raygan’s actions while docking, stating “there was a point where you called three meters and I had less than a half a meter.”
However, Sandy wasn’t too harsh and told Raygan to get out there and do more training to get her docking right. Sandy said that she would train Raygan herself, but she didn’t have the time, and the demands of the ship required everyone to bring their A-game.
Speaking of danger, things don’t get more dangerous than a fire onboard a ship. Chef Leon Walker left an oven so dirty that it caught fire. A dirty kitchen is a health and safety no-no on its own, but a fire? Leon was let go with immediate effect.
Leon quickly struck up a feud with fellow chef Kate Chastain. When Kate attempted to call out Leon’s dangerous kitchen behaviors that led to the fire, Leon gaslit her and accused her of being drunk. With so much riding against him, Leon’s firing was a no-brainer.
While other crew members have been fired immediately, Lexi’s was a long time coming. Lexi often butted heads with her co-workers, ranging from insults to calling them offensive slurs. Things even got physical in some arguments, notably during an infamous dinner with her co-workers.
In the end, Captain Sandy fired Lexi after a series of threats of more violent behavior. Her reasoning was that Lexi’s attitude had “permeated throughout the entire boat,” causing a negative workspace for the whole crew.
Model Magda was inexperienced with working at sea, and it showed. She was frequently pulled up for not putting her phone away during working hours. Magda, whose first language is Polish, also struggled to understand certain instructions due to the language barrier.
In the end, Magda was “replaced” — perhaps a softer version of firing her. Now, Magda seems to be working as a model full-time, so she probably gets to use her phone more than she would on board. A clip from the show where Magda says she feels Latina “on the inside” became a huge meme online, so perhaps her firing prevented further gaffes that could cause offense.
If you know someone suffering from sexual violence, contact RAINN or the National Sexual Abuse Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
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