Captain Sandy Yawn Shares Her Thoughts On Chef Mila Kolomeitseva’s Homophobic Comments

How great is it to finally have Below Deck Mediterranean back for Season 4? The wait between seasons is too long! As many of last season’s crew is back–Captain Sandy Yawn, chief stewardess Hannah Ferrier, newly promoted bosun Joao Franco and everyone’s favorite deckhand, Colin Macy-O’Toole, this week’s premiere episode was like catching up with old friends. Or enemies, depending on how you felt about Season 3! Except for Colin-who doesn’t love Colin?

Most of the drama of the first episode centered around the culinary skills–or the lack of said skills–of new cast member, chef Mila Kolomeitseva. Who can’t even seem to make a simple taco correctly! Although Mila is not off to a great culinary start, an on-camera homophobic comment she made as seen in the show’s previews might be more controversial than her questionable cooking skills. And as you can imagine, Captain Sandy has some thoughts about Mila’s judgmental declaration.

In the season trailer, Mila talks about how she does not want her son to see “two men kissing each other.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when you allow such a statement to be filmed, you should be prepared that people might have an opinion about that. Captain Sandy spoke to toofab about Mila’s comment, saying, “I heard it through chatter. Like, the crew doesn’t run to me and say, ‘Did you hear what happened?!’ They’re not like that. They basically keep it [to themselves], but someone mentioned it and I just thought, wow.”

Chef Mila is from Siberia and Russia has cultural norms that are certainly different from other places. The Russian government has been notoriously punitive towards the LGBTQ population, so a Russian native might have very different viewpoints on gay rights than someone from a country with more cultural, religious and legal freedoms.

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Captain Sandy believes Mila’s background might be at least part of where her thoughts about gay people derive from. She shared, “Listen, people grow up in different counties and are programmed a certain way to think. We are fortunate because we get to think how we want to think. We’re not in that type of country, so I think it’s very hard for someone to adjust to a different culture. And that’s why I think this show’s great for everyone because you get to see different countries, different cultures, how people think.”

Below Deck Mediterranean might be primarily an entertainment show, but Captain Sandy is right. Not only do you experience the crew and guests visiting different countries, you get to watch crew members from all over the world interact with each other. Which creates the drama and fireworks we love. Who knew that watching Bravo could be a cultural learning experience!

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What does Captain Sandy, who recently announced that she has a new girlfriend, really think of Mila’s views? She declares, “That’s her opinion. That doesn’t reflect [me]. She can have her opinion. I don’t really care. Doesn’t reflect on me. It reflects on her. So when people take it personal, they should probably look at themselves and not point the finger at the person who said it. Doesn’t bother me! That’s her thing she has to deal with. Not mine.”

Which is certainly true. But isn’t there value in people honestly expressing their opinions–whether you agree with them or not? Change comes from learning, conversations, and experiences. The more opportunities someone has to be exposed to different viewpoints, the more likely they are to open up their minds to different ways of thinking. Will that be the case for Mila this season? I am sure we will find out as the season progresses.

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[Photo Credit: Greg Endries/Bravo]