Below Deck's Wes O'Dell Shares More Insight About His Fight With Rayna Lindsey Over Racial Slur

below deck cast photos
(Image credit: Bravo)

The finale for Below Deck's Season 9 shenanigans came with a ton of drama. It was the last crew night off. Rayna Lindsey had been quietly stewing over her co-star Heather Chase’s use of a racial slur for some time but couldn't hold it in any longer. The two got into huge argument, resulting in Chase getting down on her knees for forgiveness, which eventually turned into a fight between Lindsey and Wes O’Dell when he tried to diffuse the situation. Now O’Dell (who was, for the most part, content on the sidelines this season) is sharing more insight about what went down.

For context, Rayna Lindsey and Wes O’Dell were the only Black main castmates in this season. Yet Lindsey angrily accused O’Dell during the finale of not being Black and not understanding her ire toward Heather Chase in the moment. (O’Dell's father is technically white and his mother is Black, making him biracial, but he identifies with being Black.) While on the Gangplank Report podcast, the Below Deck deckhand stated that Lindsey's remarks were “hurtful.” Not because they questioned his Blackness, but for how quickly she turned on him. He said,

I was more taken aback that I felt in that situation being the only two Black people on the yacht and in a very non-diverse industry, yachting, sailing – anything with boats. I thought I was that confidante or that friend she could rely on and would be able to talk to. And that’s why I talked to her and said, ‘Let’s stop this. Quit it.’ Tried to end all of that stuff on our last night out. I thought my words would get through to her. And she would understand it.

Despite Rayna Lindsey’s claims to the contrary, Wes O’Dell was firm to the podcast that he knows first-hand why the racial slur is inappropriate. He said he witnessed a lot amidst splitting his time between St. Thomas and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and other parts of the South while growing up. About the finale fight, the Below Deck newcomer shared that he was still grappling with learning the context of Heather Chase’s use of the N-word, which was drunkenly singing a song lyric. O'Dell continued,

The reason I always stuck with context is when you have something coming in a malicious act or something out of a place of hate. There’s a difference between being litty titty and making a mistake – and a mistake that should never happen. But in [Heather's] defense, she messed up and she messed up on live TV, which is stupid…And when she did admit it, I’m still at the observation stage. It’s like what more can there be done? At this point, after everybody is aware of it, it’s going to be shown. Now it’s up to the public to make their own decisions. And sadly, be judge of all of this. Judge of her character and judge of her as a person.

O’Dell explained further that that he doesn't accept nor agree with hateful speech or actions. But the Bravo star claimed that he would have approached it differently than Rayna Lindsey, who he says has never apologized about the comments made specifically toward him.

Following the controversial slur airing on the show, Heather Chase released an apology on social media for what she said, with Rayna Lindsey adding on her accounts how difficult the season was for her. Likewise, first officer Eddie Lucas later admitted that he tried to have Chase fired from the yacht (although it was never shown on-screen).

This makes for the second, back-to-back season of the franchise to deal with issues beyond the normal hookup drama. Fans will get to hear the final say on the matter when the Below Deck reunion premieres on February 7 on Bravo in the 2022 TV schedule.

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

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