I was telling y’all about how Maya hired someone who claimed her gender was ‘dinosaur’ to be our new ‘script girl’ – I mean ‘script dinosaur’. I tried hard not to be quick to judge Brontë (that was her dinosaur name, and she insisted we all spell it with the umlaut), and I reckon it could have worked out with her, regardless of the gender and dino/dina/dinas pronoun issues, but Brontë got off on a bad footing with everyone. That includes me, and y’all should know by now that I get along with most people. We were getting ready to shoot a segment with me and the boys in the pool so I was in board shorts when I went up to her to introduce myself. Her answer was: “I know I’m expected to be attracted to you, but I’m non-binary and your toxic masculinity is a total turn-off.”
What do you say to that? Especially when all you wanted to do was make the new member of the crew feel welcome? I just kind of shrugged and walked away and got back to what the shot was supposed to be (Gechitzik watching as me and the boys splashed around – the dream shot was to have the boys throw a pool ball to Gechitzik and have him bring it back to us…but he wasn’t up to it lol). I let Brontë do dinas job and decided I was going to stay away from dina. Dino showed absolutely no interest in the boys, and the boys (and Gechitzik) are my main focus, both on and off camera, so that made it easy to stay away from dina.
(That’s seriously how Brontë was expecting us to talk. Y’all should know it took me like five tries to get the last two sentences right.)
Of course, even with me keeping my distance, we started having problems with Brontë as early as the first week. We don’t have an HR department, but Maya’s got a more-or-less open door policy, and Brontë went to the boss to tell on several members of the crew, who dino said “misgendered” dina.
Now the thing I don’t understand is that, when you talk to someone who’s dinosaur gender, you’re still calling them ‘you’ – right? The only time you have to use third-person pronouns is when they’re not there. Like now, when I’m telling y’all (see? second-person pronoun since I’m talking to you) about Brontë then I’d say ‘dino was hard to work with’ or, more to the point, ‘dino was a pain in the ass to have on the crew.’ That’s simple, right? Ok…but, then, how did Brontë know that we were “misgendering” her? Shit, there I go: dina, I mean. Was dino listening at doors to find things to complain about? Still, dino knew…and dino clearly thought she – okay, I give up, is that supposed to be nominative or accusative?? – was going to get people in trouble.
Ok, that’s not how Maya rolls. She’s made it very clear to all of us that the main reason why we don’t have an HR person on the show is that she hates tattletales.
Y’all can see where this is going. And it wasn’t going to end well for Brontë, who didn’t get fired, but who quit because she said the work environment was toxic after only eight days on the job. She launched complaints about a bunch of us, including me, although I had nothing to do with her after that first encounter. (The charge was sexual harassment because I kept walking around with my shirt off. Sheesh…that’s my job!) After Maya put Brontë’s complaints in what Maya calls her “circular file”, Brontë said she couldn’t work here anymore…and dino stormed out of Maya’s office.
Ok, enough with the dino shit. It’s seriously getting on my nerves, and I’ll bet it’s getting on y’all’s nerves too. I’m going back to she.
Only that wasn’t the end of it: Brontë decided she wanted to have her revenge on Maya for firing her (which isn’t even what happened.) Her first step was going to the network’s HR department, which doesn’t usually have anything to do with us on At Home with Maya, and they didn’t seem very interested in Brontë’s complaints. I think she expected us all to get fired or something.
So she took us to the court of social media. And there what she said went almost viral: she called Maya a transphobe and anti LGBTQ+ (and whatever lameass letters come after that), despite the fact that, as far as we could tell, she was ‘xenogender’ and ‘non-binary’ and those things aren’t the same thing as being trans. But, then, I guess xenogenderphobic isn’t a word (yet?), mostly because there are maybe six people in the whole world who claim to be dinosaur gender and it wasn’t worth inventing a word for it.
Besides, more people know the word transphobic, and it’s the word that blew up all over TikTok, where Brontë posted a whole bunch of videos with her face THIS CLOSE to the camera that said all kinds of untrue and super mean things about Maya, the crew, and, yeah, me too. She accused me of using my toxic masculinity to influence the boys to be as transphobic as their mother. That was a whole TikTok video in itself, with her looking totally insane so close to the camera. Even though she looked crazy and it wasn’t true, it was pretty hurtful, honestly. I know I’m kind of a public figure, and so I should expect some flak (my Twitter isn’t only people saying that #baseballboy is dreamy lol), but that usually comes from exercise “experts” who claim I’m doing something wrong in the gym. Ok, fine…someone recently did a video saying I was as big a fraud as the Vshred dude, but even that kind of flak is nothing like the abuse that I got in that video from Brontë.
The explosion was big enough to make us on the show afraid that Maya was going to get cancelled – and the show and our jobs with her. That was underestimating Maya Bedrossian. Yeah, it was pretty bad for a couple days. I understand Maya even got a death threat (which is why the San Marino Police paid us a visit, although it turns out that there wasn’t anything to the threat, luckily) – and, yeah, there were haters out there who said that the show should be cancelled on grounds of transphobia.
I gotta admit that the mood around the house was pretty dismal after Brontë’s shit hit the fan. It was worse even when that stupidass book came out, maybe because the people on the receiving end of the shit stick were all of us, and not just Maya and Robert (and me), like it was with the book. We were all being branded transphobes, and that’s the kind of thing that can ruin careers. The worst case scenario we were all thinking of was that the show would get cancelled and no one would be able to get a job afterwards.
It took almost a whole week for Maya to figure out how to respond to the allegations of transphobia. She wasn’t going to take it lying down and let herself get cancelled (and the show with it), and she finally decided to fight fire the way it should be fought, with water – and by fire I mean Brontë’s crazy allegations and when I say water I mean common sense.
So Maya posted a video – not one of those wacked-out TikTok things, but a professionally shot video on YouTube in which she appeared in full hair and makeup. In it, she very calmly and super classily (is that a word?) explained her side of the story, and how Brontë quit instead of getting fired, and that she was making a happy workplace into a toxic one. So it was for the good of her show that Maya had to get rid of the wacko ‘script dinosaur’. “We’re a closely-knit team here at At Home with Maya, and the crew works where I live and raise my children, and it matters very much to me that the working conditions be harmonious. We unfortunately had someone in our midst who didn’t fit that bill and who, in any event, elected to stop working for the show before we were able to resolve the personality conflicts involved.”
Maya wrote the statement herself, and y’all can notice that she was very careful not to call Brontë ‘she’. Trust me, she wasn’t about to call her ‘dino’ either, so she wrote the script carefully so it would avoid using any pronouns at all.
It was Maya’s greatest performance, we all felt – although what she said was absolutely true. It was also a big gamble, and we all knew it.
I know the world’s gone fuckin crazy, but, somehow, it chose to be sane where Maya was concerned this time. There was some investigation done into the story by some celebrity gossip sites…and they actually went along with the truth.
So Maya came out victorious – and so did all of us at At Home with Maya, since our ratings went up the week after all the videos came out. Oh – one more classy thing Maya did was not discuss the Brontë situation on the show. She’d said her piece in the video and that was the end of it as far as she was concerned.
So that’s my side of the story, told by me. Maya decided that we should ignore the matter on our Twitter and Instagram accounts, so there’s nowhere to read Destiny’s version of my version of the story lol – although Destiny did publish her own account on her professional website. But now y’all know how it looked to an almost innocent bystander.
Oh yeah – what did we do about replacing Brontë? For the moment, nothing. We don’t want to get stuck hiring someone else who checked boxes, and, like I said, we’re a pretty diverse bunch…and not because someone set out to make the crew that way. Maya and Robert and Jean-François just hired qualified people and it turned out that some were black, some were Asian, some were LGBTQ+…and, yeah, there’s me, who I reckon checks the super white box lol. I told y’all we had a dude on the show who can do anything, right? Well, he’s the ‘script girl’ for the time being. He’s got plenty of other shit to do, but he’s managing, and I think he’s as glad as the rest of us are not to have to deal with another toxic co-worker for the time being.