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Below Deck's Eddie Lucas Blames Bravo Producers For 'Poorly Handled' Reaction To Racial Slur Complaint

screenshot of Eddie Lucas on Below Deck
(Image credit: Bravo)

Amid the boatmances and typical NSFW drama within Below Deck's current season, a serious situation has been brewing over the use of a racial slur. Chief stewardess Heather Chase was, at one point, heard saying the N-word in front of co-star Rayna Lindsey, who is the only Black female castmate on the show this year. Lindsey vocalized to both Chase and other co-workers, including Eddie Lucas, why it was not appropriate language. Amidst the drama airing, Chase has since issued a public apology, but Lindsey slammed everyone involved for not doing more while filming. The sentiment has also been echoed by Lucas, who in fact blames Bravo producers for their “poorly handled” reaction in the moment.

Eddie Lucas caught a lot of flak so far for seeming to brush aside Rayna Lindsey's complaint about the racial slur on the show. He was particularly criticized for saying to Lindsey that she shouldn't take it “personally.” However, the longtime Below Deck alum told Showbiz Cheatsheet that the production team actually stopped him from doing more. He said:

You know, the whole thing, that whole deal was just really poorly handled on so many levels, especially the top of it, which is production. You know, production was terrified by this whole situation coming out. And I was told on numerous times don’t talk about it, stop bringing it up. This is going to kill us. And that’s not OK. I mean, I was told on numerous occasions to not talk about it and not bring it up anymore. I mean, when I had the conversation with Rayna about it, I wanted to go talk to Captain Lee. As soon as that conversation ended, there was an EP right out there saying, ‘OK, that was it. No more, we’re done talking about this.'

Concerning the initial conversation with his co-star about the racial slur, Eddie Lucas revealed that it was edited down significantly. He claims he talked to his deckhand for at least a half-hour hour and that Rachel Lindsey indicated that she “wasn't comfortable going to the captain right away.” As Lucas tells it, she was “very, very nonchalant about it,” prompting him to then make the comments that she shouldn't let it “affect” her or take it “personally.” If she had been more forthright about how much it bothered her, he said “much stronger actions” would have been taken. He added:

It was actually a really good conversation that we were having. And it’s just gotten spun into something different. But in no way would I ever brush racism under the rug. I am not OK with it in any way, shape, or form.

The star also hinted that, in upcoming episodes of Below Deck, the problem worsens. Apparently, he calls for a meeting between the co-stars involved to resolve the complaint, but Rayna Lindsey wanted no part in it. The franchise veteran said he then took it to Captain Lee and even recommended that chief stewardess Heather Chase be fired. However, the bosun/first officer indicated that he doesn't know if that “makes it on the show.”

Bravo's seaworthy franchise has faced much criticism over the years that their shows lack diversity. But ever since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and our collective reckoning with racial injustice last summer, subsequent seasons have featured more and more Black castmate. And conversations on the matter even took center stage during one of the show's reunions. However, it would appear Eddie Lucas is suggesting that the network needs more improvement in how they deal with sensitive issues such as these going forward in the future.

Below Deck airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo. And if you're curious about the shows that will be returning in the coming year, check out our 2022 winter and spring TV schedule.

Lauren Vanderveen

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.