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Y&R's Real Life Soap Opera
Sometimes the soap opera behind-the-scenes is juicier than what's been
written for the show. That's certainly the case right now with the firing of
actor Michael Muhney, who plays Adam. Muhney is very popular with fans
because he's a fantastic actor and has always been very outspoken on
Twitter. He's been very good about responding to fans and good about letting
us "press" interview him. Until
He was fired right before Christmas and gave
this interview about what happened. At the time, I wondered why he would go
on just the Canadian version of Huffington Post, but the interviewer is Nelson
Branco, a Canadian soap opera writer (formerly working for TV Guide Canada).
He's also very outspoken and has long been a Muhney fan. I wondered if perhaps
Muhney was Canadian, but it turns out, he's from Chicago.
it appears that no one else would interview him before the facts came out (or
else he wouldn't let anyone else interview him that might ask about the rumors).
Right after his firing, rumors leaked out that Muhney had gotten in trouble for
groping actress Hunter King (Summer) and possibly another younger actress on the
I didn't want to believe it was true, and neither did any of his other fans.
He's just such a good actor and so darn likable. He really put everything into
playing Adam. Adam did despicable things and yet Muhney made us love him.
The first actor who played Adam (Chris Engen) was also good, but he left the
role in a storm of
controversy, too. He didn't like it when the writers had Adam kissing and
having sex with Rafe (most of us hated that story, anyway, since it was not
consistent with Adam's history and seemed very contrived). Muhney came in
and did a great job of making us both love and hate Adam. A lot of rumors are
always going on about the actors and the TV shows, particularly when one of them
gets fired. The shows seldom tell us what's going on, and the actors rarely do,
so fans are left to speculate.
It certainly seemed evident right away that something weird was going on,
since he was fired so quickly, and he was very popular. Adam was right in the
forefront of the stories and is the son of one of the show's patriarchs, Victor
Newman. It doesn't help that the show's executive producer, Jill Farren Phelps,
has long been seen as someone who hires the actors she likes (usually from other
shows she's been on) and fires ones she doesn't. Hunter King, for
instance, had been on JFP's previous show, "Hollywood
Heights", as had Robert Adamson (Noah) and Melissa Ordway (Abby). JFP was
the former executive producer of General Hospital for many years, and she also
recently hired Steve Burton (Dylan), who played Jason on GH for years.
JFP has done this for many years (bringing in people she's worked with on
other soaps), so much so that the actors are called Friends of Jill or FOJ.
I suspect that it's fairly common to hire people you like when you move from one
producing job to another, and she may not do it any more than others.
Sometimes sexism can be involved in castigating a woman in a suit more than
people would for a man who does the same thing. She is definitely someone who is
hired to cut costs, and that often involves firing highly-paid actors.
That won't make you very popular. For whatever reason, there are far too
many "new" people on Y&R lately. It makes it difficult to watch and difficult to
care about the characters or the stories.
However, even Muhney said in his interview that his firing was not JFP's
fault, nor that of CBS or Y&R. He speculated that his firing may have had to do
with the fact that he has been so outspoken, and he also said that they told him
they were letting him go for storyline reasons. They're writing Adam out and
bringing him back later with another actor. This, of course, made no sense
whatsoever. You don't fire an actor just because he says some things on Twitter.
If that were true, Eric Braeden (Victor) would have been long gone.
It also doesn't help that several major actors have left the show lately,
such as Billy Miller and Michelle Stafford. I think Stafford may have left due
to money, but Miller reportedly left because they wouldn't give him enough time
off to do other projects (what they call "outs"). It's kind of weird that
Miller and Muhney's characters have been facing off on Y&R this year, and now
they're both leaving. Both have been giving outstanding performances as
fathers going through hell.
Right after the rumors started, a few of the Y&R cast members, Melody Thomas
Scott (Nikki) and Doug Davidson (Paul) hinted that there was a very good reason
for Muhney's firing. The only one who seemed to stick up for Muhney was Sharon
Case (Sharon) who had shared many stories with him. She made a
nice little video about
the two of them together. The whole thing was very strange, and it was hard not
to wonder what the heck was going on. The holidays came along, so there was no
more news about it.
Meanwhile, some of his fans started petitions to get him re-hired, and they
argued about it on message boards (as fans always do). Until now.
TMZ has reported that the rumors are true. Michael Muhney was
fired for sexually harassing Hunter King. According to the report, he bullied
her and groped her breasts twice. There isn't much else they said about
it, but it seems clear that he was, indeed, fired for this reason, unless some
other news comes out that says otherwise. Every major soap site is reporting
this, so it's probably true.
When it comes to sexual harassment, there is no tolerance. You don't get put
in jail, like you might for a more violent assault, but it is a type of assault
and a person can be fired for it. If it was just Hunter King's word
against his, my guess is, he probably wouldn't have been fired. She must have
some sort of proof, or he admitted it. Either someone else witnessed it, or she
recorded it, or he admitted it, or he did it to someone else as well (possibly
he has a history of it). Otherwise, they would not have fired him. (This is all
speculation on my part, of course) Companies are sensitive to legal
problems, but I don't think they would just fire him based on her word (unless
there is something in his contract that lets them just fire him for no reason).
They would risk his suing them otherwise. Even so, I doubt they would just take
her word for it, since he's so popular and is a major character.
It's a shame that Muhney felt that he had to cover this up, but I guess I can
understand that he didn't want to look bad or didn't want to jeopardize his
career. Sometimes these things don't come out into the open, but with the
paparazzi and the internet, it is less and less the case. If he did do
this, it's very sad and pathetic. What a waste of great talent. I feel bad for
his family. I hope he is able to get counseling and solve these problems he has.
If he didn't do it, he should definitely speak up and sue Y&R/CBS/Sony.
If he is guilty, good for Hunter King for standing up for herself and
exposing him as a predator. I'm guessing it was not easy for her. Sexual
harassment is, unfortunately, very common still in the workplace, and young
women are often preyed upon because men know they often will not report it. Being
young and inexperienced, it's hard to come forth and risk your job and
reputation, and the wrath of the predator (not to mention his fans). It's quite
an ordeal for anyone. It's very easy to just say, okay, just ignore it and move
on, and that happens far too much. Even now, I doubt there are too many women
who can say they've never been sexually harassed in the workplace (not
necessarily physically). I really admire Hunter King for coming forth. She
did the right thing and deserves our praise, not our scorn. She's probably
saved some other young women from getting harassed and probably inspired some
others to come forth and tell their tales.
I enjoy watching Y&R, but it's difficult to watch the show when there are so
many turbulent behind-the-scenes problems. There have been many problems in the
show for the past year. I hope they are able to settle down now and stop hiring
and firing people, and write good stories.
more on the story from Tommy's column.
good article that lays all this out better than I did, plus she does make
some excellent points I hadn't thought of. (Sorry, I had the wrong link here
From Kristoff St. John
Jerry Douglas thinks Muhney is high strung and emotional
Eric Braeden speaks
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