“Their behavior was despicable,” Lee, 73, exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Both of them. And I’m sure they’ll be paying the price for it for a long time to come. As they should.”
During back-to-back episodes of the Bravo series that aired on Monday, August 7, Luke, 32, came under fire when he climbed into Margot Sisson’s bed naked after the power went out on the yacht. Producers stepped in after Luke tried to make a move on Margot and he was later sent to a hotel before being fired by Captain Jason Chambers the next day.
“We had an incident last night and I want to stress that this is a place where we respect each other. Our cabin is our safety zone. That door is our boundary,” Jason told the crew. “That door is not to be opened unless it is consensual. To walk into someone else’s room without consent [while] indecent is my limit.”
Luke wasn’t the only crew member sent packing on Monday’s episode. Laura also found herself in hot water for defending his actions, which prompted Chief Stew Aesha Scott to tell Jason, 50, about Laura’s own lack of boundaries with costar Adam Kodra. When Adam confirmed that he felt uncomfortable around her, Laura was also let go. (She has since issued an apology to both Adam and Margot.)
Lee, who watched the episode as a viewer, tells Us he was “impressed” with production, Captain Jason and Chief Stew Aesha for “not getting rattled” and instead handling the incident “calmly.” He believes Jason “absolutely” made the right decision — and isn’t sure he would have kept his composure if faced with the same situation.
“I don’t know if I would have had the wherewithal to remain as calm as Captain Jason did, but he certainly stepped up to the plate and did it right,” Lee notes, adding that he’s “grateful” to have never encountered a similar conflict during his own charters.
“It’s a tough spot to be in,” he explains. “When there’s the captain you’re responsible for everything and anything that does happen. Jason handled it superbly.”
Since the episodes aired, Aesha and Jason have received an outpouring of support on social media for how they approached the incident — something Lee agrees with wholeheartedly.
“I think [the fans’] reaction is justified and their praise for not only production, but for Aesha, and for a Captain Jason, as well,” he says. “They all stepped up to the plate and did the right thing at the appropriate time and didn’t let anything get carried away. Didn’t put it on the back burner, didn’t cover it up. They just dealt with it appropriately.”
As for Margot and Adam, Lee lends them his full support.
“I have nothing but the best wishes for Margot and Adam. I have nothing but respect for [them] and I certainly feel sorry for both of them because neither one of them deserved to be put in that position,” he tells Us.
Lee was a mainstay on the original Below Deck series since its premiere in 2013. He exited the show prior to season 11 — a reveal that shocked him as much as it did viewers.
“That came right out of left field. I did not see that one coming at all,” he exclusively told Us in May, revealing that the network didn’t give an exact reason for the decision at the time.
“We would like to move in a new direction,” Lee recalled being told about his exit, which occurred offscreen. “But I mean, that’s kind of a cliche that everybody uses when they find themselves in that situation where they’re going to let somebody go. ‘I’m going to move in a new direction. We want to freshen it up a little.’ [They are] tired cliches that get overused.”
Lee initially left during season 10 of Below Deck to address his health issues. He was replaced by Below Deck Mediterranean’s Captain Sandy Yawn before returning to finish out the charter season. In February, Us broke the news that Lee would be replaced by Below Deck Adventure’s Captain Kerry Titheradge for season 11.
While Bravo announced in July that Lee and former Chief Stew Kate Chastain would be breaking down the network’s biggest TV moments each week in their new show, Couch Talk With Captain Lee and Kate — which premieres Monday, August 14 — Lee hasn’t ruled out returning to the Below Deck franchise if the opportunity arises.
“I certainly don’t want to be somewhere where I’m not wanted. But if I were invited back, I think I’d take another swing at it,” he tells Us.
Below Deck Down Under airs back-to-back episodes on Bravo Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
Couch Talk With Captain Lee and Kate premieres on Bravo Monday, August 4 at 10 p.m. ET.
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If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).