During an interview with Rolling Stone on Thursday, makeup artist Samantha Suarez, 27, who first worked in Below Deck‘s makeup department during the series’ 10th season, accused Gary, 35, of sexually assaulting her while drunk in his hotel room in Sardinia, Italy, where he and his castmates were staying amid filming.
“There is no limit to alcohol consumption whatsoever, which I think poses a really big problem,” Samantha told the magazine.
According to Samantha, she was accompanying a drunk Gary back to his room in July 2022 when he began “behaving erratically,” yelling off his balcony and begging her not to leave his room. Although Samantha attempted to lighten the mood by joking that she was going to sit outside the room to make sure he didn’t leave, Gary reportedly responded by asking her to get in bed with him — even though he knew she was in a relationship.
Samantha eventually left but returned later with snacks and water for Gary, who allegedly answered the door in his underwear and again begged her to stay.
“I was like, ‘I have to go — I need to go bring other people water and food,’ and he’s like, ‘No, no, please,’” Samantha recalled. “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.’”
Then, as Samantha turned to leave, she revealed, Gary “came up behind her, grabbed her, pressed her against his body and refused to let go of her” as she tried to “kick and elbow him to get him off her.”
Although she was able to break loose and tried to get out of Gary’s room, he reportedly followed her and shut the door from behind her.
“At that point, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was freaking out,” she admitted. “It just happened so fast.”
When Samantha received a call from the talent manager, she was able to get to the hallway to answer.
“I’m freaking out, and he goes, ‘What’s wrong? What’s going on?’ And I’m like, ‘Just leave me alone,’” she said. “[Gary] tried to come up behind me and put his arm around me. He’s in the hallway in his underwear, and it’s all weird and f*cked up, and so I’m just like, ‘Just go back in your room and don’t come out.’”
Following the incident, Samantha told producers what happened and noted that she no longer felt comfortable near him. In response, producers allegedly told her he’d be fired if any additional bad behavior was reported and forced him to sleep on the boat for the rest of filming.
“It pretty much sucked from there on out,” Suarez said. “I was just in a super depressive state.”
Looking back, Samantha said she stayed in her hotel room for a week after her encounter with Gary and considered quitting.
In response to the claims against Gary, a spokesperson for Bravo told Page Six, “Bravo is committed to maintaining a safe and respectful workplace for cast and crew on our reality shows. We require our third-party production companies to have appropriate workplace policies and trainings in place and a clear process on how to report concerns.
“The concerns Ms. Suarez raised in July 2022 were investigated at that time, and action was taken based on the findings,” they added.
In addition to Samantha’s allegations against Gary, another crew member spoke out, telling the magazine that they saw Gary grab a female cast member’s butt, touching her inappropriately despite being told, “No,” and grabbing a crew member’s genitals.
“He’s next-level scary with women,” the crew member said. “It was insane. There were multiple incidents of sexual harassment in front of multiple producers after this person had been given verbal warnings multiple times.”
Below Deck Sailing Yacht season four concluded in July 2023.
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