Just how bad have things become for The Young and the Restless actors in the aftermath of Michael Muhney's firing? In a post on Facebook to fans, Kristoff St. John compares the implosion at Y&R to the L.A. Riots!
St. John also believes Y&R's actors are now caught in a social media war zone armed "with very little artillery." Read St. John's entire letter to fans after the jump!
My Y and R Friends, Family, Fans... I come in peace.
What does anyone on the periphery of this whole episode really know? We are a company who have worked closely together for many, many years. Some, as in Jeanne Coopers case, may she rest in peace, for 40 long years, since the inception of the show in 1973. Eric Braeden has served 34 years at his post, Doug Davidson 36 years, Jerry Douglas 33 years, and many other cast and crew members who have committed and dedicated MOST of their lives to bring a complex, colorful story to life every day, 52 weeks a year, for 40 years. This is a HUGE chunk of our lives. We know each other, our families, and the show intimately. We have struggled through the good and the bad, professionally, and personally. I cannot speak for those that I have just mentioned, but I imagine the feelings are similar, and run deep. To think that these professional, honest, hard working people are trying to deceive, cover up, misguide or misdirect the public in ANY way is blasphemous, and simply not true. There are newer cast members who watch the veterans very closely, Inspecting, detecting, and some rejecting. Some newbies are in awe, with gratitude for a veterans help and protection. Some are unimpressed, struggling to keep their ego's in check, figuring out ways to bring their own stamp to the show. Some fail within the first few days or weeks, bowing down to the pressure cooker of the grand Y and R theater; The stage. Others take to the stage with determination and bravado, standing toe to toe with the Iconic actors that made the show what it is today. These newer actors try to somehow figure out the formula for the 'staying power' and secret to longevity in the fictional city of Genoa. It's NOT a secret that actors have ego. Some have bigger egos than others. An actor must have thick skin to deal with the Himalayan sized egos that some actors bring with them as they take to the stage. Perhaps their bravado is false, as they retreat after a scene to fight another day. Occasionally things get out of hand, when an actor decides to disrespect the very stage that the veterans that helped to create the magic from scratch. My take is that the 'stage' is a metaphor for life itself. The stage of life can be brutal, with that unfortunate 'Dog eat Dog' mentality. Some actors succumb entirely to the stages pace and energy. They try desperately to break the code, and break through, so they can give a good performance. Some are brash and sassy, disrespecting the 'code', denying true creativity and harmony with others. Others embrace it, relish it, admire it, protect it, respect it and its predecessors and occupants, that are only there to help and guide. The stage is our playground, the story is KING. Collectively, we are a mighty, ensemble cast, with various diverse, ethnic backgrounds. It is no coincidence that all of us still share the stage at this pivotal juncture in the history of 'The Young and The Restless". Most of these talented actors were hand picked by the mighty boss who now resides in Heaven, the great William J. Bell Sr. I recall being picked by Bill for a four episode arc… That was 23 years ago.
We strive to bring you excellence, not gossip and slander. We hope that at the end of the day, that we are working on something worthwhile… when in reality, believe it or not, it is historic. From the make-up, hair, and wardrobe artists, to the set decorators, dressers, stage managers, grips, cameraman, directors, producers, writers, audio, editing and music, chyron engineers, painters, props, lighting, production staff, interns, florists, and yes, craft service and even the pages that monitor the phones… This 'baby' has taken a VILLAGE to birth it, raise it, nurture it, love it… for you to behold and cherish, watch and tell others… YOU, the fans, are a vital, most necessary component. The largest part of this village. Without you, we have no play to give. The stage is worthless and barren if there is noone to witness our hard work and effort. We do it for you, and of course for us, to feed ourselves and our families. It is a two way street, decorated with countless awards and accolades. A golden road of wealth, fame and opportunity for many who trudge its distance, however short or far they may travel on its golden cobblestones. However, recently, this magical road has been littered, with controversy and dark rumors... like black rain clouds, threatening to pour it's stormy wrath of destruction on the travelers below.
It is absurd and hurtful the way the rumor mill has spun out of control, with uninformed people forming opinions, completely in the dark. Unfortunately, you, the fans, are innocent bystanders. However, many are feeding off of the hysteria of those that are out for blood. Sadly, It is a mob mentality.
I remember the riots in Los Angeles years ago, when black on white, black on Korean, black on black crimes were being committed. No-one could believe what we were watching develop on the streets of Los Angeles. A brick was thrown, a storefront smashed, and then, suddenly, people were being pummeled to near death in busy South L.A. intersections, in plain view of cameras and PEOPLE, who, rather then help their brother man, joined in the melee. Like vicious, hungry jackals, they beat and tortured innocent civilians, and torched cars, business' and homes. Half of the city was on fire, as shop and home owners watched their lives and possessions burn to the ground, without ANY ASSISTANCE from the fire or police departments, because they were too frightened to enter into the war zone. This was due to a blatant HYSTERIA, fueled by anger and aggression. As the rioting continued from day to night, and day after day, until the National Guard was called in, most of the rioters were 'sheeplike', behaving without care or love, following in the footsteps of the man ahead of them, who was angrily raging out of control. Perhaps the anger stemmed from childhood, when personalities are first born. Not able to tell right from wrong. Looting, burning, destroying. A total lack of self control. With little or no regard for the innocent people that either stood and watched, or simply joined the fracas. Not respecting the world stage that was traveled, by so many before him. Are we to assume that 'most' people are sane and level headed when a potentially catastrophic moment arises? Unfortunately, NO! Most don't pause and reflect on the true essence of a horrible moment in time. Rather than pausing and intelligently evaluating, people exhibit catastrophic knee jerk reactions, exacerbating an already heightened, mismanaged issue. Adding fuel to the fire is what we call that. Instead of helping to douse the raging inferno, many human beings jump on a fiery bandwagon, with flammable thoughts and actions, causing a nuclear blast of epic proportions. The rioters were finally put in their place by the National Guard. The looters were arrested. Those that had beaten people were taken to court, The public court of opinion was widespread. But most saw the riot for what it was. Most saw the truth about what happened when Reginald Denny was pulled from his truck and unmercifully flogged by many. The news covered that event non-stop, showing the gory details over and over. A crying outpour of shock, embarrassment, shame and disdain. How could this happen on the streets of our beautiful, sunny city. A city divided. A city in shame. An out of control, messy, destructive moment in our history. One that couldn't be helped. One that couldn't be avoided. Like a ticking time bomb. The tension in this city had been bubbling over for some years, and finally, it all came to a head.
The implosion at Y and R, has caused fans to seek an even bigger explosion, one that is unwarranted, and without real merit, based on what little information has been given or leaked. Because of this soap opera behind the scenes hysteria, we are now ALL in a WAR ZONE. Can you blame the actors when under fire and being attacked, for putting on flak jackets, arming themselves with the only weapons available, (social media) and firing SOMETHING, anything back? The problem here is that we have very little artillery. Our hands are tied, beyond belief. Beyond our control. WE WANT THIS TO END AS MUCH AS THE FANS DO. But I'll be damned if I allow a FEW OF THE MANY THAT HAVE HELPED TO CONSTRUCT THE HOUSE THAT WILLIAM BELL SR. built, along with his precious wife LEE PHILLIP BELL, with THIER own hands, from the ground up, to BULLY ME, SCARE ME OR MY FAMILY, AND IMPEDE MY PROGRESS IN THIS ONLY LIFE THAT I/WE HAVE. I have worked for 40 years in this Hollywood machine and have never witnessed such senseless, misdirected anger and discontent. It reminds me more of a Shakespearean play, where misunderstanding and deceit are played out on stage by colorful characters with much charm, but with insidious intentions. Remember, “The play is the Thing” (wherein I will catch the conscience of the King) Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2. You don't cut down the entire apple tree because of one infected apple. This IS SHAKESPEAREAN by design, with tragic consequences for those that allow it.
Life isn't necessarily about Soap Operas, although they provide a fine source of entertainment and distraction. LIFE IS ABOUT ENDURING THE GOOD TIMES AND BAD, MAKING IT THROUGH EACH DAY, CLOSER TO OUR GOALS, ACCOMPANIED BY OUR DEAR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. It is EASY to live in harmony when times are GOOD. The true test comes when we must handle times that are bad and dismal. Hate and anger force us to fight and bicker amongst ourselves. Love and peace are why we must hold each others hands, procreate, and continue our species. Planet Earth, our only home, hanging by a thread, with our lives just the same… So fragile, Hanging by a thread. As we try desperately to tether to anything with a foundation…to keep us safe…to be grounded… to be accepted… to be considered normal, and loved. We have to be held accountable for our actions. This is the law of the universe. A law that was put into place since the first amoeba was formed. How far we have progressed in our evolution, to a raging, out of control, senseless revolution. How much we have endured. And, how much more time is left that we have to make it right, and make a difference, as long as we draw breath. WE MUST PICK UP THE PIECES OF THIS TRAGIC MOMENT IN TIME. COLLECT OURSELVES, OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS, AND REMEMBER WHY WE ARE ALL HERE ON PLANET EARTH.
I would be remiss if I didn't remind myself and you, that these potent words may be trouble for some. I'm sure that some will criticize and try to ostracize me for getting on my pulpit and expounding words that might be considered 'holier than thou'. Some might look for and seem to find the double entendre in this story. Indeed, this is not my intention. I believe that cooler heads will prevail. I passionately believe in what I'm saying, so much so, that I am willing to take THAT chance. To clear the air and rectify, for the sake of all that is good, and my own peace of mind. I am not a follower of ALL that we consider good, but rather a messenger with a clear message from my heart. I feet compelled to draw YOU near, without condemnation, without prejudice or judgement, or biased behavior. I am only asking for the same respect. Do not condemn me, or judge me. In one of our darkest hours, I am asking you for 'clear' understanding. To be 'present'. Not to delve into the past, or think recklessly about the future. To be here, now. To be calm and collected, with some form of purity to resolve this car crash. Lets not be spectators or instigators. Lets rush to the aid of the fiery ball. Help to douse the flames. Provide some salve to the burning ruins. I say go forward, and bring resolve to other important issues in life. Hold your babies and children close. Enjoy their innocence and total trust in you. They are small only for a short time, and then they belong to the world. Hug your neighbor, no matter what has come of friendship. Don't let bad feelings fester and be sore. Look your family member in the eye, and save that memory forever. Do a random act of kindness for a perfect or imperfect stranger, not to tell others, but FOR others. That is what I must do. My soul says it so. We must help the man or woman on our left, that might feel 'left out' or ostracized, or condemned. Have compassion for those that are mired in cloudy discontent. We must somehow find the answers. Those answers lie within. They may be difficult to hear, but if you listen closely, those answers will come. In the spirit of all that is righteous, in the name of those that have come before us, and have settled major issues such as WORLD WARS, and accomplished astronomical feats, such as putting man on the moon.
I implore all of us, fans, actors, producers, writers, cast and crew, from the smallest to the largest, journeymen, astronauts, traveling through time and space. it is TIME TO WAKE UP, and believe in our brother man and woman. That TOGETHER we have unheralded strength. TOGETHER we can spread the message of love, harmony and peace. STOP THE HURT, HEAL THE WOUNDED, EMBRACE THOSE THAT NEED LOVE AND COMFORT. This is just a blip on Gods radar. A moment in time, that will pass, if we ALL WORK TOGETHER.
Please remember that this little, yet GIANT, beautiful, one of a kind television show, created more than 40 years ago, with rich stories that mimic our lives, is truly a GIFT. It's my gift. It's your gift. It is larger than ANY of us. More mountainous than we can climb. From the early days of radio, to the advent of the television, Grandmothers, mothers, have passed this remarkable story down to their children, and now OUR children's children. We must somehow revere and respect its legacy, with some sort of dedication, until it's last moment to draw breath. To honor the memories of those that have toiled and given their lives for it. Jeanne Cooper, the matriarch would want this, nay, demand this. Bill Bell Sr. the patriarch, would only want unity, harmony and peace for ALL of us, as we enter into the final phase of the history of this mighty, iconic show. Jeanne and Bill are smiling on us, bathing us with their grace and dignity... all the way from Heaven and beyond. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the most watched, successful, number one CBS Daytime Soap Opera of all time; “The Young and the Restless”! This is what Bill and Lee Phillip Bell, and their children struggled successfully to set forth.
I Remain Proudly
Kristoff St. John