Recently fans applauded the Below Deck Down Under crew for preventing what could have been a sexual assault on a drunk and unconscious crewmate. Two crew members immediately got their tickets home. Captain Jason Chambers, Chief Stewardess Aesha Scott and an anonymous show producer were acknowledged for having done the right thing. In the wake of that incident, however, several production members have come forward with allegations concerning Gary King.
They are concerned about several unreported cases of sexual assault and misconduct. Has Gary been allowed to avoid consequences merely because he’s a popular member of the Emmy-winning show?
Production member Samantha Suarez says Gary attempted to force himself on her while filming Season 4 of Below Deck Sailing Yacht in the summer of 2022.
Begging her not to leave his hotel room
In 2022, Covid restrictions required cast members had to remain isolated in their hotel rooms prior to filming. In addition to her hair and makeup duties, Samantha also delivered food and water to crew members in their rooms during isolation. When everyone first arrived in Sardinia, Italy, she told producers that some of the cast members were refusing to stay isolated in their hotel rooms.
One day Samantha accompanied Gary back to his room after he had filmed interviews for the show. As always, alcohol had been provided to render crew members more talkative.
“There is no limit to alcohol consumption whatsoever,” said the Atlanta-based makeup artist, “which I think poses a really big problem.” According to Samantha, a very inebriated Gary was shouting off his balcony, trying to get other crew members to come join him in his room. After settling him down, she told him she had to go assist others.
Gary repeatedly asked her not to leave, even suggesting that they get into bed together, even though he knew she was in a relationship. She insisted she had to leave, but promised to return in a few minutes to bring him snacks and water.
Answering the door in his underwear
When she returned with the snacks, the first mate answered the door in his underwear. Again he begged her not to leave.
“I was like … I need to go bring other people water and food,’’ she said. “So I stepped into the room to set the case of waters down and again, he’s repeating, ‘Don’t leave,’ and I was like, ‘I have to go, I’m not staying.’”
As she turned to leave the room, Samantha alleges Gary came up behind her, grabbed her, pressed against her with his body, and refused to release her, even though she was kicking and elbowing him to get free. Once she was able to free herself and went to open the door, she says Gary slammed the door shut from behind her.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Samantha says. “I was freaking out. It just happened so fast.”
Fortunately, at that moment Samantha received a phone call from the talent manager and answered it. When Gary let go of the door, she was able to step into the hallway and answer the call.
“I’m freaking out, and he goes, ‘What’s wrong? What’s going on?’” Samantha continued. “And I’m like, ‘Just leave me alone.’ He tried to … put his arm around me. He’s in the hallway in his underwear and it’s all weird and fucked up, [so I said], ‘Just go back in your room and don’t come out.’”
Little response from producers
Though she immediately reported the incident to producers the next day, not much happened. She had a few meetings with various production members and told them she wasn’t comfortable around Gary. She didn’t want to do his hair or makeup or be alone in a room with him.
Producers warned Gary they would fire him if another incident were to take place. Removed from his hotel room, he had to sleep on the Parsifal III.
Following the incident, Samantha stayed inside her hotel room for a week because she was upset and depressed. She says her mental health declined, and debated going home without finishing the season.
Several crew members who worked with Samantha at the time verified that she told them about the incident during filming. They also said they’ve witnessed Gary “constantly” make other women uncomfortable with his aggressive pursuit of them.
One anonymous source reported seeing Gary grab a female cast member’s butt and continue to touch her inappropriately even though she said, “No,” and told him to stop. When a producer told him to stop, the crew member says Gary approached a camera operator and grabbed his genitals.
“He’s next-level scary with women,” the witness said.
How does he get away with this stuff? I thought I was over Gary King, but now I don’t even want to see him on my TV screen anymore. He really is disgusting.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK GARY SHOULD BE FIRED FROM THE BELOW DECK FRANCHISE? WILL YOU CONTINUE TO WATCH IF HE CONTINUES TO BE FEATURED?
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