Is Maria Arena Bell Being Two-Faced With Actors at Y&R?
The internet has been abuzz all weekend with comments regarding former The Young and the Restless star Victoria Rowell calling into Jamie Foxx's Foxhole radio show during an appearance by former leading man Kristoff St. John and Darius McCrary. During the segment, Rowell called St. John to the carpet regarding Y&R's diversity issues and alleged backstage drama, and during the exchange it was confirmed that St. John has been punished in the past for speaking out.
Last year, St. John spoke candidly with Buzz Worthy Radio regarding the lack of diversity at Y&R and screentime for the Winters family. On Daytime Confidential Podcast #439, I commented that if St. John was backburnered following his Buzz Worthy appearance, we would know why. Sure enough, St. John was offscreen for a few months following his decision to address the blatant inequality experienced by the actors who play the popular Winters clan on the CBS sudser. An excuse was given that the actor was "on vacation". Fast forward to Friday night when, after being put on blast by Rowell, St. John reluctantly admitted he was in fact denied storyline for several months after speaking out.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't St. John's costars, from Jeanne Cooper to Peter Bergman and Eric Braeden spoken out ad nauseum concerning their respective gripes about the show? I don't recall any of them leaving our screens for extended periods of time following speaking their minds. So why were those tactics utilized with St. John?
When Eric Braeden publicly "quit" The Young and the Restless last year at the end of a messy contract dispute, he launched a guerilla-style media tour, blasting the storyline that saw Victor being indirectly responsible for the death of Colleen Carlton (Tammin Sursok), and other issues he had with how Y&R was being managed.
Now sure, some will say, "Well that is Eric Braeden, he can do that," but that doesn't make it right. Contrary to Maria Arena Bell's obvious station of having her head being firmly planted in the sand where her show's legacy's of onscreen diversity is concerned, Y&R's black characters have been just as popular as Kay, Jack, Nikki or Victor over the years.
Eight-hundred thousand viewers didn't leave with Braeden. They did, however, with Shemar Moore. No, St. John hasn't achieved Moore's level of widespread popularity with the show's fans, but as the last original link to to the Barber/Winters clan who is on contract at Y&R, you would think Y&R's brass would think he is just as integral to the show's success as his peers.
Recently Peter Bergman spoke out to Fancast's Sara Bibel, decrying the fact that Jack Abbott constantly loses every battle against Braeden's Victor. This past April, Bergman also lambasted Y&R for the outlandish doppelganger storylines featuring co-stars Stacy Haiduk and Tracey Bregman. Does anyone recall Jack heading to the back of the bus while Bergman was given a "vacation"?
When I woke up this morning, I thought I lived in the United States, where the First Amendment was still in the Constitution. Now I'm not naive enough to think one can constantly speak out against their employer without some form of consequence , but considering St. John has only really spoken out once in 20 odd years as part of Y&R's cast—while his costars do so all the time— it begs the question, why was he punished? Maria Arena Bell has some explaining to do.