Aesha Scott Shares What Didn’t Air on Below Deck as Producer Addresses Luke & Laura’s Firings and Reveals Team’s “Valiant Effort” to Intervene, Plus Captain Jason Speaks

by Lindsay Cronin Comments
Below Deck Down Under Producer Addresses Luke Jones and Laura's Firings, Reveals Team's "Valiant Effort" to Intervene During Incident as Aesha Shares What Didn't Air and Captain Jason Speaks

Credit: Bravo

Below Deck Down Under‘s executive producer, Nadine Rajabi, claims Luke Jones and Laura Bileskalne‘s firings were about “safety” and “doing the right thing.”

Over a week after Captain Jason Chambers fired the crewmates for acting inappropriately with Margot Sisson and Adam Kodra, respectively, after a wild night of drinking amid season two, Nadine is speaking out about the situation as Aesha Scott and Jason also weigh in.

“It was a hard night; the whole thing was very, very difficult,” Nadine told Los Angeles Times on August 14. “I didn’t realize the response that would come of this because that was not anything that we were thinking about. It’s not anything to be congratulated on because it was just about doing the right thing. I would hope that everybody would act in that way. It was about safety.”

On August 7, Bravo aired back-to-back episodes that saw a naked Luke getting into bed with Margot, who had passed out earlier in the evening, and Laura hopping into bed with Adam, who had previously declined her advances.

Although many have applauded the network, Aesha, and the production team, who intervened quickly amid both scenarios, others have suggested that the advisory message seen at the end of the second airing wasn’t sufficient and suggested Bravo should’ve added a content warning to the starts of the episodes.

When the L.A. Times reached out to Luke and Laura for comment, Luke, who said he was “sorry” and “disappointed” upon his exit from the boat, declined, as did Laura, who instead pointed to an Instagram post in which she offered her “sincere apologies to Adam” for making “him feel uncomfortable.”

According to Nadine, her production is stationed in a video village, watching real-time footage on monitors, throughout production. So, when something happens with a cast member or cast members in their cabins, which are located on the lower level, it only takes about a “minute” to respond.

Looking back at the intervention between Luke and Margot, Nadine said it came as the yacht experienced a power outage that suspended the live feeds. Although cameras continued to record, an audio supervisor who made his way to Margot’s cabin to remove Luke had to do some improvising.

“Some of the lighting you’ll see is different; he used his phone to put light there. And that gave enough time because we have to run from video village,” she recalled. “And we had our producer that ran down in that moment and went in. It was a valiant effort of the production crew of going there and also, like, having somebody strong to actually go in. When the backup power eventually kicked in, you run. There’s no question, you run.”

In addition to production, Aesha was instrumental in making sure that no further interaction could take place between cast members without consent.

Although she was hesitant to be interviewed by the L.A. Times, noting that she didn’t want to exploit a bad situation, Aesha, a victim of sexual assault, which she spoke of on a 2019 episode of Below Deck Mediterranean, admitted to feeling “on edge” on the night in question.

“I just knew coming home in the van, my Spidey senses were tingling,” Aesha said. “Something was just telling me that something wasn’t quite right. I had this thing on my brain: ‘Just get Margot to bed, get Margot to bed. That’s all you have to do.’”

According to Aesha, there was plenty viewers didn’t see.

“It doesn’t show quite how long I spent just lying in her cabin to make sure that she was OK. Then I remember the power went out when I was standing at the microwave waiting for my noodles to be finished. And I heard the producers run past, and it just made me so upset, because I’d spent so much time with Margot and her cabin, trying to make sure that she was OK, and it felt like after all that effort, I’d failed,” she shared,  adding, “I really felt upset.”

Once Aesha learned what happened, she woke up Captain Jason, who quickly removed Luke from the boat, put him in a hotel, and fired him the next morning. Then, upon discovering Laura’s behavior, as well as her defending of Luke and lack of empathy toward Margot, Aesha went to Jason again, and Laura was fired.

“They couldn’t include a part where I did actually have a conversation with Laura about pulling back a bit [with Adam]; that it goes both ways, and she needs to stop being so inappropriate with Adam,” Aesha revealed. “So to watch it and see just how far she was pushing it, that was really shocking to me as well.”

In his own interview, Jason said that after watching the episodes play out, he’s even more sure that he made the right decision by firing Luke and Laura.

“I based my decisions off of what Aesha told me; that was enough for me to know that something had to be done there, obviously. And I based the other decision on what Aesha told me and what I spoke to Adam about, and combined, I just knew that that was an environment that I didn’t want to work in, and I didn’t want crew to work in,” he explained. “I want them to work in a happy, safe, family environment.”

“I’m also grateful that nothing happened,” Jason continued. “To all parties involved, everyone is going to be hurt from this. We need to protect all the crew members involved, and I mean all the crew members involved, for their health, safety and mental health going forward. We need to respect every person around us and understand that no means no so that we’re all safe.”

Speaking of what takes place ahead of production, Nadine said cast members participate in workplace classes and training, including sensitivity training.

As for during production, the team pays for two drinks and food during cast outings. And while on the boat, the staff often has access to the alcohol supply for guests.

“There’s been situations in the past where we really do monitor them, we cut them off, we make sure people are consenting — and these are the things you don’t see,” Nadine continued. “The situation that’s been documented on this episode has not only sparked a lot of conversations that’s happening in the yachting industry, they’re like, this has shed a light on things. The one thing I remember from that night is I was so scared because I was like, ‘If there were no cameras, what would have happened? What would have happened? Because nobody else is there to watch.’ We’re actually encouraged to step in … I think [this incident] was more instinctual; it was ‘this cannot happen,’ and it was safety. It wasn’t a ‘What do we do? Should we or shouldn’t we?’”

Below Deck Down Under season two airs Mondays at 8/7c on Bravo.