Here’s what we actually know:
On Monday, December 16, Jill Farren Phelps, Executive Producer of the Young and the Restless informed Michael Muhney that Thursday, December 19 would be his last day of filming, and his last episode would air January 30.
On Tuesday, December 17, Michael Logan of TV Guide tweeted “Can it B TRUE? I’m hearing 2morrow is the last day for @michaelmuhney at @YandR_CBS @YRInsider Will Adam B recast?”
Following that leak, Muhney announced his firing on Twitter, also on December 17.
On Wednesday, December 18, Muhney’s interview with Huffington Post Canada was published. He didn’t say (like most fired actors) that he was leaving the show for other opportunities or that he had creative differences with TPTB and was going in another direction. He said he was fired. He said why, he said it was all his own fault and he said nice things about Phelps, CBS, and Sony.
Immediately following, several of the actors, most notably Melody Thomas Scott and Doug Davidson, took to Twitter to say that there was “more to the story” and “any actor would’ve been fired under these circumstances” and other very inflammatory comments. (These tweets have since been deleted but are published in the January 20 issue of Soap Opera Digest.) Davidson later tweeted some positive comments, as did Kristoff St. John.
On December 19, a fan named “SharonRocks” posted on the Soap Opera Network message board that he/she had “a very reliable source” who “told me that Muhney was sexually harassing Hunter King.” And went on to give his/her opinion. This rumor showed up on multiple soap message boards and got a little flurry of attention but then died down.
On Saturday, January 4, TMZ published a piece repeating these rumors, creating the boob groping scandal, and drawing huge amounts of attention. News outlets of all types did NOT do any independent investigation, but simply rebroadcast the TMZ info, which quoted unnamed sources, making unsubstantiated claims, often leaving out the word “allegedly”. The root information for the TMZ story and every other reporting of it, came from this “SharonRocks”.
This person who started the gossip has publicly taken credit for it (in the comments section), claiming to “know the truth” and that he/she felt “the truth should be out there instead of vague comments.”
Some fans have been rude and accusatory and have attacked actors and executives from Y&R both on Twitter and on Facebook. The vast majority of the social media reaction, however, has been supportive of Muhney and King, both, but it’s been ugly out there. Some people are attacking Muhney (and his wife and family), some are attacking King, some are insulting their co-stars, some are attacking the executives, and the fans are also attacking each other… every kind of ugliness has been going on.
On January 6, Muhney tweeted:
“Benjamin Franklin said it best, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.”
“…and that quote doesn’t only apply to what is being said about ME. It also applies to others. Please be kind to everyone. #respect”
That addressed both the vicious gossip about him and others, and was a plea to stop the online attacks.
But people will be people, and they are going to behave in an ugly way if they want to, regardless of Muhney’s plea for sanity and restraint. He has been criticized for not controlling the online outbursts, as if he were able to do that, as well as being blamed for stirring up his fans to behave badly because he hasn’t said more.
In Soap Opera Uncensored eZine, which has a subscriber-only audience, soap journalist Nelson Branco published some VERY interesting info supporting Muhney’s innocence in this boobgate fiasco, but interestingly, no other news sources are picking it up.
He said he “first heard rumblings of a misunderstanding on set between Muhney and
King early last summer. SOAP OPERA DIGEST even printed a blind item about it last June, which prompted us to investigate. Turns out there wasn’t much of a story there: According to my sources, Muhney never “groped” King.”
He went on to say “Unfortunately, after speaking to several of Muhney’s co-stars and backstage crew, it’s clear the dangerous game of telephone over at Y&R turned this into the sensational lie that it is.”
And regarding the real reason Muhney was fired, Branco said this, “A backstage insider told UNCENSORED, “Michael picked a few too many battles, which is why he was let go. It had nothing to do with anything else.”
It appears that only the salacious quotes from unnamed sources are the ones that get any play. Including the ones from his co-stars who are giving ill-advised interviews that only make themselves look bad and opportunistic.
The media feeding frenzy and desire to score traffic from the salacious gossip has prompted “journalists” to spread other unfounded rumors about Muhney’s behavior in past years at other jobs. Again, without any facts or official statements. And again, all from unnamed sources and fan message boards.
Someone even went to Muhney’s Wikipedia page to add all of the accusations from the TMZ article as if they were biographical facts about him. This is nothing short of deliberate character assassination. Those remarks have since been removed but are visible on the editing history of the page.
In trying to dig up more dirt about Muhney, the only person brave enough to provide a quote to TMZ about his professional behavior and own it by giving her name is his co-star in a movie called “The Portal”. Jenna Zablocki, who was his love interest in the movie, told TMZ “He was a gentleman, professional, and a really cool guy.”
Muhney’s co-star and love interest on Y&R, Sharon Case, has been very publicly supportive of him as well, even creating a video tribute to her friend. Another co-star and love interest on Y&R, Melissa Claire Egan, also tweeted a positive and supportive comment about Muhney and Billy Miller, who both left Y&R on December 19. Interesting that three of his leading ladies, with whom he had numerous intimate scenes, are supportive of him and clearly never had a problem with his behavior.
What we see now, sadly, is that Muhney’s reputation has been shredded, based on absolutely no facts, no official statements, no evidence, only rumors and innuendo from unnamed sources.
We also know that Y&R, CBS and Sony haven’t said anything at all about this except to say that they don’t comment on “rumors”.
This has been an all-out attack on a man’s character, which had one original source and no substantiation. The ugliness that has resulted is disgusting. The lack of spin control on the part of Y&R, CBS and Sony TV is reprehensible.
THINGS TO PONDER:
- Who is SharonRocks?
- Who is the inside “source” that he/she is crediting with the libelous rumors about Muhney?
- Why did they take it upon themselves to publicly attack Michael Muhney and try to ruin his reputation?
I watched The Young and the Restless to be entertained. I came to it because I was already a fan of Michael Muhney from his Veronica Mars days. This debacle and the horrendous treatment of Michael Muhney have completely turned me off. This is NOT entertainment.
This is my last blog post about this show. I’ll never watch it again.
I have turned off the comments, even though 99.9% of the comments you all have posted are supportive and positive and very civilized. I apologize for not giving my loyal readers an outlet to vent after reading this, but I’m unwilling to monitor and moderate comments. I’m done with this show and everything associated with it. My tweet announcing this blog post will be my last tweet as well.
My readers/commenters are some of the smartest, kindest, most eloquent TV watchers out there. I have nothing but love and respect for you, unlike those who disrespect and malign you for being Y&R fans or Adam fans or Michael Muhney fans. Thank you for stimulating discussions and years of fun. You represent what is good about social media, and I thank you and salute you!