WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY COHEN -- Episode 17012 -- Pictured: Ashton Pienaar -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo)

Below Deck Star Ashton Pienaar Reacts To Claims He Turned The Deck Crew Against Rhylee Gerber

Below Deck is sailing into its final charter of the season. Where did everything go so wrong? There was drama from the get-go, with mutual animosity between Kate Chastain and Kevin Dobson. Deckhand Abbi Murphy left mid- charter season, to be replaced by take no prisoners Rhylee Gerber.

A flirtation between Courtney Skippon and Brian de Saint Pern satisfied the boat romance quota, while the hookups between Tanner Sterback and Simone Mashile showed us why it is a bad idea to pair up with co-workers. Slowly, things have taken a darker turn, with the male deck crew and chef Kevin engaging in some blatantly misogynistic behavior. Part of their actions have been aimed at Rhylee. How does Ashton Pienaar feel he and his crew treated Rhylee? His answers may–or may not–surprise you.

On a recent Watch What Happens Live, Ashton was asked if had any influence over how the deck crew has behaved towards Rhylee. He stated, “I think everyone’s giving me way too much credit in saying that I made them act in a certain way to Rhylee. They’re both big boys. They can both make up their own minds.”

Yes, big boys Tanner and Brian can make up their own minds. However, Ashton, as their leader, sets the tone for the crew. And this season, the tone has been sexist, crude and would likely get you fired in a regular work environment.


RELATED: Below Deck Star Captain Lee Rosbach Says Ashton Pienaar Ostracized & Alienated Rhylee Gerber To Prove A Point


Ashton went on to explain, “And I do want to point out that it’s very naive to think that Tanner and Brian did not watch the previous season and didn’t know Rhylee themselves.”

Deckhands Tanner and Brian may have watched the previous season, but they did not “know Rhylee.” Only Ashton, Kate and Captain Lee Rosbach knew her. Granted, Rhylee’s quick temper does her no favors, but Captain Lee and Kate gave her a chance. Rhylee’s strong work ethic would likely earn their respect.


RELATED: Captain Lee Rosbach Says Ashton Pienaar Poisoned The Below Deck Crew Against Rhylee Gerber


According to Ashton, he also gave Rhylee the benefit of the doubt. He claimed, “When I brought up Rhylee arriving, I was actually trying to manage the guys and be like, ‘Look, Rhylee’s coming, but we’re going to make this work.’ It’s kind of where I sit and I was trying to prepare them for what we need to do. Come together as a team and make things work regardless of what you may know about Rhylee and regardless of your opinion you may have.”

The honeymoon phase, if ever there was one ended quickly, with the deck crew soon clashing with Rhylee. Rhylee is a difficult person to get along with, but it was clear from the start that the Bruh Crew was not going to give her a chance. Captain Lee believes that Ashton set Rhylee up for failure,  going so far as to say that he “poisoned the deck crew” against her.


RELATED: Below Deck Star Captain Lee Rosbach Hopes Ashton Pienaar Doesn’t Have A “Repeat Performance” Of His Drunken Antics


WWHL host Andy Cohen reminded viewers that Rhylee had been on television last season. Acknowledging this, Ashton took the opportunity to declare, “That’s my point. It wasn’t the first time that they knew Rhylee. They watched her behavior last season.”

Did Tanner and Brian already have a set opinion of Rhylee before she came aboard? Only they know for sure. Rhylee’s fate on the Valor was probably written during her confrontation with fourth Bruh Crew member Kevin on her first night out with her fellow yachties. Bruh Code means all for one, one for all, apparently. Especially where the opposite sex is concerned. Friendship bracelets and all.


RELATED: Below Deck Star Captain Lee Rosbach Critiques Ashton Pienaar For Letting Abbi Murphy Sleep Off Her Hangover Instead Of Working



[Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo]