After Digest posted a story yesterday with NATAS’s response to the Emmy controversy with Patrika Darbo (Mickey, THE BAY; ex-Nancy, DAYS et al), Darbo called Digest to weigh in on the matter. “I wanted to go on the record and clearly say this is not about my Emmy,” she begins. “I didn’t violate anything because I did not submit myself. This was an error by THE BAY and this was a double error by NATAS. If I didn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it. And they’re absolutely correct; I was in the wrong category.”
However, Darbo doesn’t feel it’s fair that Jennifer Bassey (Beverly, ANACOSTIA; ex-Marian, ALL MY CHILDREN), who was next in line to win once Darbo’s prize was revoked, didn’t get an award. “Her violations — because that’s exactly what NATAS called it, violations — were exactly the same as Eric Nelsen’s [Daniel, THE BAY, who won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama]. So what does that look like? You take it from the older woman but you give it to the younger guy? That looks wrong with the same violations. Believe me, I do not want to hurt this boy, he’s darling, everybody should be able to win, but fair is fair. The Emmy is valuable to me. Of course, anybody hates losing one, but I didn’t deserve it. I was submitted incorrectly by the producers, not by myself, but if you’re going to let Eric have his, then Jennifer deserves hers.”
As for NATAS’s claim of ambiguity between episodes and chapters, Darbo notes, “If you go to Amazon Prime and try to buy an episode of THE BAY, it’s not done in chapters, it’s done by episodes. You’re paying for one episode. If Jennifer had 10 lines and Eric only had four lines [of a violation], it doesn’t matter. As the governor of the Television Academy here [Darbo is a Co-Governor of the Performers Peer Group at ATAS in Los Angeles, overseeing the Primetime Emmys], I’m the performer’s governor, so my concern is the performers that elected me to do this job, which means there needs to be some fairness, and you cannot do this. The Emmy brand is the most important thing to me. I have a Primetime Emmy on my table just across from us. I don’t want any tarnish or blemish on that Emmy. It means too much to me and I’m sure everyone else that has won theirs legitimately doesn’t want anything to be wrong with theirs, either.”
In a statement to Digest, NATAS responds: “All individuals were subject to the same standards regarding each rule. In the case of the prior appearance rule, all those found in violation were disqualified. However, in the case of the episode count rule, NATAS opted not to overrule the judges’ decisions, given the rule’s ambiguous guidance, the reasonable disagreement over its terms, and the rule’s planned elimination from future competition. Those found to be potentially in violation of the rule were permitted to keep their awards or nominations. NATAS determined it would not be appropriate to elevate these entrants by presenting new awards in these categories. No additional winners were officially announced by NATAS.”
Darbo also defends Michael Caruso, the Executive Producer of LADIES OF THE LAKE — in which Darbo also appeared — who first brought the matter to NATAS prior to the Daytime Emmy ceremony. “I want to go on the record that people are throwing Michael Caruso under the bus,” she says. “He is a producer who was protecting his show, and the Emmy brand, as well. He [alerted them that] there were infractions. Whether or not they could wait or not wait [to read Caruso’s email], that, to me, is insignificant. Once he said there are infractions, that should’ve stopped NATAS immediately and said, ‘Well, something’s wrong here and we need to check this out.’ ”
Darbo insists that her goal in speaking out is to bring attention to the matter. “I’m hopefully flinging the door open where somebody will say, ‘Whoa, guys, we need to take a look at this,’ because the most important thing to me in the Emmy brand,” she concludes. “We cannot have any kind of dark cloud hanging over her. As Jennifer Bassey said, she and I both are old enough that we can just find an island some place and say the hell with it! But we love what we do and we want to be respected for what we do. And again, our names are the most important things to us. Fair is fair.”
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