below deck recap season 9 episode 8 heather chase

Heather Chase Apologizes For Using Racial Slurs On Below Deck

I don’t even really have to say this, but we all know reality TV is far from perfect. The crazy lives of the characters on shows we  watch, whether it’s the wealthy and dramatic on Real Housewives or the yachting crew on Below Deck, are entertaining. But there’s a pretty fine line when it comes to funny chaos and downright offensive moments.

We’ve seen cultural appropriation, racist jokes, homophobic remarks, and more on Bravo shows before. Usually, the network is pretty quick to respond and condemn whatever the issue is (see here and here). But sometimes, it seems like some Bravolebs come under fire for their major mistakes, while others fly under the rug. I don’t know how or why, but it is interesting to watch.

That’s how I was feeling after seeing the recent events go down on Below Deck. The crew was enjoying a night out, as they do, which involves drinking and debauchery. But Chief Stew Heather Chase crossed a line when she said the N-word. Not only was it completely wrong, but it was on camera AND in front of her Black castmate Rayna Lindsey. Just a bad look all around and there are no excuses, as Captain Lee would say. Since the episode aired, Heather has posted an apology on Instagram.

The post read, “I am sorry for the hurt my ignorance caused Rayna in tonight’s episode. While I apologized to Rayna throughout the season, I cannot express how truly remorseful I am.” Heather continued by saying that part of her job is to make a safe and welcoming environment for the crew. “I fell short,” she added. Yeah, that’s an understatement.

Heather also mentioned that the episode was filmed nine months ago, so she has done some reflecting. “I have learned how my words and actions can affect others and I vow to do better in the future,” she said. Fans in the comments were NOT impressed, with people saying it was “so unacceptable” and that there’s “no excuse.”

According to Page SixRayna wasn’t impressed with Heather’s comment and says they aren’t on good terms. “We [She and Heather] aren’t and have never been friends … I wish her nothing but the best thought. She’s young and hopefully can learn from these mistakes,” Rayna said, which is nicer than she had to be. Below Deck crew of past and present have talked about the lack of diverse representation in the yachting industry. Comments like Heather’s just make it even more of a toxic environment.

Rayna also was “very disappointed” with how her colleague Eddie Lucas responded to the incident, as well as Captain Lee. “He knew … and just didn’t care to talk to [her],” Rayna said. “It really impacts me going forward. I start to become really discouraged and unhappy.” That’s extremely disappointing and uncalled for to hear. I feel bad for Rayna for not only having to deal with that, but work with these people afterward that made her feel uncomfortable.

Rayna also said that a few Bravo producers were there for her, but she felt that overall they were “not really” supportive. Bravo also sometimes puts out statements when their stars mess up, like when Kenya Moore wore a costume depicting Native American stereotypes. But a quick look on the channel’s feed shows radio silence. Also very disappointing.


[Photo Credit: Bravo]