A couple of episodes ago on Below Deck Heather Chase was recorded saying the n-word, a racial slur, on camera. She was repeating her castmate Rayna Lindsey, who is black, saying it, but there is no situation where a white person should say this word. Heather did not apologize for it immediately afterwards but later she and deckhand Jake Folger were singing rap lyrics they may have said the word again. Rayna casually brought up that they couldn’t say the word, and pointed out that Heather had said the word earlier. Heather said “sorry” at the time. She later sat down and apologized to Rayna on tonight’s episode after a few days had passed, but Rayna ultimately did not find her apology sincere. Rayna Lindsey appeared last night on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen to address her thoughts and feelings about this difficult situation.
When the episode where she said the word first aired Heather published a public apology on Instagram. Heather’s apology is not anyone but Rayna’s to accept, and it seems like she does not accept Heather’s apology.
On WWHL Andy asked Rayna about how she felt watching back the footage where Heather’s slur was used. “It’s uncomfortable and cringey to watch,” Rayna says about the episode. “Especially when, it’s like we’re all adults and it’s 2021. . . . It’s something that should just be known.”
Rayna goes on to say that she was worried about Heather’s feelings at the time and could have “taken that route in a complete different direction.” She says Heather should have been more worried about other people’s feelings rather than her own.
Rayna also addressed her seemingly conflicting behavior on the show by explaining that she was always worried about coming across as the stereotype of an angry black woman. “As an African American woman, there’s always the stereotype of us being aggressive, or of us being too loud, or of being the angry aggressive black woman,” Rayna said. “That was running through my head almost every second of the show.”
Still, Rayna says that she was “genuinely hurt” and wanted her voice to be heard, but she didn’t want to come across as “over-the-top.”
Rayna also addressed how her boss, first officer Eddie Lucas downplayed Heather’s use of the n-word, but was quick to ask Rayna to not tell Heather to not eat the communal crew food with her fingers. She says this displays where his priorities are at.
Eddie has since spoken out saying that he feels like Heather should have been fired over her use of the word. He also points the blame at the show’s producers for asking the crew to downplay the incident while they were taping.
He told Showbiz Cheatsheet that producers even stopped him from doing more about the situation. “I was told numerous times don’t talk about, stop bringing it up. This is going to kill us,” Eddie said. (the original article isn’t loading, so we’re linking to Reality Blurb! quoting it) And that’s not OK. I mean, I was told on numerous occasions to not talk about it and not bring it up anymore. I mean, when I had the conversation with Rayna about it, I wanted to go to Captain Lee. As soon as that conversation ended there was an EP right out there saying, ‘OK, that was it. No more, we’re done talking about this.”
Andy also asked Rayna why she appeared to accept Heather’s apology, but then later told stew Fraser Olender that she would never forgive Heather. Rayna responded that she didn’t think everything about this situation was shown on the episode, including Heather’s “fake tears.”
Andy then says “You felt it was insincere.” Rayna agreed “completely.” She went on to say that she was trying to “spare people’s feelings. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. When I hurt people’s feelings, that genuinely hurts me. I’m worried so much about her feelings when I should not have been put in that position. I shouldn’t have been worried about her. I should have been worried about myself, and I wasn’t.”
Before the incident with Heather, Rayna shared on the show that she has experienced racial violence in America. She said she has been “beaten up and maced” by cops in the past, and attacked by three white men in an elevator. These are traumatic and horrifying acts and Rayna’s feelings over how people treat her are valid.
On Instagram Rayna continued to explain her point-of-view via a Q&A.
One person asked Rayna why she let Heather think she accepted her apology when she didn’t.
“I told her it upset me multiple times,” Rayna replied. “When someone fake crises in front of you you just want it to be over honestly. It’s uncomfortable.”
Another person said that Heather should have apologized immediately after she said the n-word.
“Exactly,” Rayna responded. “And when it didn’t happen I was like ‘Bet!’ These people don’t get that. I don’t got to be this girls friend. We gotta do our job and that’s it. We ain’t coo.”
Rayna has also shared on Instagram that she’s been sober since November 16, 2021.