EDITOR’S NOTE: This story about television networks hiring private investigators to uncover celebrities’ racist comments on social media first appeared on Parentology in June 2020. Parentology is participating in a webinar about Cancel Culture this week — and this article will be discussed, which is why we republished it to the website’s home page. Sign up for the free webinar here.
A handful of TV networks have hired infamous private investigator Edward Myers to keep tabs on what their actors are doing on social media. The networks, including CBS, Showtime and MTV, have tasked Myers specifically with identifying any racist comments their cast members have made online.
According to Page Six, which broke the story, letters have already been mailed to actors on certain TV shows, informing them that the probe has been opened. Page Six suggests that at least a half dozen shows will be investigated including Dating Naked, Jersey Shore, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Teen Mom, Game On, Vice, and Love & Hip Hop.
Myers has been in business for a couple of decades. According to his website, his “leadership team brings over 100 collective years of public and private professional sector experience, including…military intelligence and counter-terrorism.” Myers has also been an investigator for LA County’s “hardcore gang division.”
The move by the networks comes after Bravo and the CW fired a handful of their actors for posting sexist and racist tweets. Actor Hartley Sawyer (top image, left) was canned from the CW superhero series The Flash after some truly hideous old tweets were unearthed. One of the tamer ones said, “As a lad, one of my favorite activities was kidnapping homeless women and cutting off their breasts.”
Bravo axed Peter Hunziker, the star of reality TV series Below Deck Mediterranean. Hunziker was given the boot after posting a meme on Instagram of a naked Black woman in chains. According to the Daily Mail, Hunziker’s post contained “shockingly racist and degrading sexual imagery.”
Lifetime called it quits for Dance Mom’s star Abby Lee Miller over racist comments. The network cancelled its upcoming Abby’s Virtual Dance-Off, and she won’t be returning to Dance Moms if the show is renewed.
Bravo’s Big Shakedown
Probably the biggest reality TV shift happened when Bravo announced that they have fired several cast members from the hit reality show Vanderpump Rules, including Brett Caprioni, Max Boyens, Kristen Doute and Stassi Schroeder. Schroeder and Doute were shown the door after displaying behavior deemed to be racist. And Caprioni and Boyens were let go for posting racist tweets.
Initially, show frontrunner Lisa Vanderpump (top image, right) seemed to defend Boyens’ tweets. On the show’s virtual reunion, she stated he wasn’t fired when the tweets were revealed because, “If I fired every one of you that have made mistakes, it doesn’t matter to what degree, probably none of you would have a job.”
About the staff, she added later on, “I have never seen any inkling of anything that would make me believe that that’s the beliefs they’re holding now,” she said. “And if I had, they wouldn’t be working for me.”
However, with Bravo’s larger call, Vanderpump wrote an Instagram post where she noted the “devastating sadness that has played out globally.” She added, “My hope is for this generation to treat each other with respect and humanity, and realize that actions have; and should have, consequences.”
“I love and adore our employees and I am deeply saddened by some of the lack of judgment that has been displayed,” she wrote. “As many of you know, after watching me for 10 years, I have always been an equal rights activist and ally — my family, my businesses and I condemn all forms of cruelty, racism, homophobia, bigotry and unequal treatment. We’ve never tolerated it in the workplace or our lives.” See her full message below.
View this post on Instagram
Over the past two weeks, many things have been brought to my attention, of which I and many others were previously unaware. It was necessary for me to be quiet until now, until decisions had been made. Now I can freely speak from the heart. As we’ve seen such devastating sadness that has played out globally, we all have a part to play to create a kinder, more just society. My hope is for this generation to treat each other with respect and humanity, and realize that actions have; and should have, consequences. I love and adore our employees and I am deeply saddened by some of the lack of judgment that has been displayed. As many of you know, after watching me for 10 years, I have always been an equal rights activist and ally – my family, my businesses and I condemn all forms of cruelty, racism, homophobia, bigotry and unequal treatment. We’ve never tolerated it in the workplace or our lives. While you only see a fraction of our employees on the show, a specific friend group, across all of our companies, we have always been a very diverse group of people – every color, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Most of our employees have worked for us for over a decade, and we have become a family; one that embraces and celebrates each other’s differences. I am proud of the inclusive company that we’ve created. We will continue to embrace diversity as one of our greatest strengths, and I’m excited to give you deeper look into the multi-faceted fabric of our company in the future. The world needs to move forward with a kinder generation. Everybody deserves to feel safe, heard and appreciated in their communities. So much of what has transpired in the world is not right, fair or acceptable. We all have work to do to create a society we can be proud of and I hope as we venture forward, we strive to live in a world where kindness and compassion are our highest values. Thank you for listening, love Lisa