Former 'Below Deck' production team member Samantha Suarez alleges King forced himself on her and refused to let her leave a hotel room while filming the Bravo reality series 'Below Deck Sailing Yacht'
Samantha Suarez first joined Below Deck as part of the makeup department on the Bravo series' original Caribbean-based franchise during its 10th season. In the summer of 2022, she worked behind the scenes on Sailing Yacht's fourth season. During that time, she alleges King, 34, forced himself on her while the show filmed in Sardinia, Italy.
As part of her responsibilities, Suarez helped the production’s talent manager with day-to-day tasks. During one "dark" day when the on-camera crew members were recording confessional interviews rather than being filmed working on the boat, she says she was tasked with escorting King, who had been drinking alcohol, back to his hotel room.
“There is no limit to alcohol consumption whatsoever, which I think poses a really big problem,” Suarez told Rolling Stone.
Suarez described King's behavior as erratic, including yelling from his balcony to his costars so they could sneak out of their rooms, which was not allowed. She claims he and asked her to stay with him. She responded by joking that she would sit outside of his room to prevent him from leaving.
Suarez says King then asked her to get in bed with him, despite knowing she was in a relationship with someone else. After leaving the room and returning with water and snacks, Suarez claims King answered the door in his underwear and asked her again not to leave.
“I was like, ‘I have to go — I need to go bring other people water and food,’ and he’s like, ‘No, no, please,’” Suarez recalled. “So I stepped into the room to set the case of waters down and again, he’s repeating, ‘Don’t leave,’ and I was like, ‘I have to go, I’m not staying.’”
As Suarez attempted to exit the hotel room, the Rolling Stone report alleges that “King came up behind her, grabbed her, pressed her against his body, and refused to let go of her even though she says she tried to kick and elbow him to get him off her.”
Suarez claims she was able to evade King, but she alleges he slammed the door shut from behind her when she attempted to leave. “At that point, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was freaking out. It just happened so fast,” she told Rolling Stone.
She said the interaction was interrupted when she received a phone call from a talent manager and King allowed her to leave to answer the call in the hallway.
“I’m freaking out, and he goes, ‘What’s wrong? What’s going on?’ And I’m like, ‘Just leave me alone,’” she claimed. “He tried to come up behind me and put his arm around me.”
She alleged, “He’s in the hallway in his underwear and it’s all weird and f--- up, and so I’m just like, ‘Just go back in your room and don’t come out.’”
Suarez claims she immediately told producers about the incident. She said she was longer comfortable around King and didn’t want to do his hair or makeup anymore. In response, producers allegedly removed King from the hotel and instructed him to sleep on the boat.
“It pretty much sucked from there on out. I was just in a super depressive state,” said Suarez.
In response to the allegation, a Bravo spokesperson tells PEOPLE, “Bravo is committed to maintaining a safe and respectful workplace for cast and crew on our reality shows. We require our third-party production companies to have appropriate workplace policies and trainings in place and a clear process on how to report concerns. The concerns Ms. Suarez raised in July 2022 were investigated at that time and action was taken based on the findings.”
PEOPLE also reached out to Below Deck’s production company 51 Minds Entertainment, which issued a statement to Rolling Stone: “51 Minds is committed to providing an environment in which every member of the casts and crews on our productions feel respected and, most importantly, safe. 51 Minds provides mandatory harassment and sensitivity training for every series it produces at the outset of each new season and lays out a clear process on how and to whom to report any questionable activity.”
The statement continued, “With any complaint filed, a timely investigation is launched and, based on the findings, appropriate actions are implemented to ensure the safety of our cast and crew, up to and including termination. With regard to the incident reported by Ms. Suarez involving Mr. King, the case was investigated and reviewed as soon as it was submitted, and production acted accordingly based on the results.”
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In addition to Suarez, Rolling Stone spoke to three other crew members who told the publication that King acted inappropriately toward women on set.
One crew member — who chose to remain anonymous — told the publication that they alleged that King grabbed a female cast member’s bottom and continued to touch her inappropriately even when she told him no. He was also allegedly caught grabbing the genitals of a production crew member and a male camera operator.
“It was insane. There were multiple incidents of sexual harassment in front of multiple producers after this person had been given verbal warnings multiple times,” the eye witness claimed. According to another crew member, King was “next-level scary with women.”
PEOPLE has reached out to King, who had not yet publicly commented on the allegations at time of publication.
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Read the original article on People.