Rachael Ray has fired back against recent reports of her talk show crew being fired without pay during the coronavirus pandemic. In a post on her Instagram Stories, Ray addressed the claims and explained that she wanted to correct some elements of the story that she feels are misleading. "There’s some news in the media today that is disturbing to me, and I do not think it is accurate," Ray began.
"My partners at CBS Television Distribution are currently in active conversation about how to provide for employees affected by our show’s format change after November 1st. It has been my utmost priority that we keep the full contribution to their healthcare plan during this pandemic," she went on to write. "I care about my colleagues as family, and as we approach the holidays, we want to keep everyone safe. While everyone is continuing to be paid through October, we will continue to work this out."
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Ray's statement comes after Variety ran a story on Wednesday, reporting that tensions between the shows producers and crew representatives had been climbing, due to issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, due to stay-at-home order that were implemented to slow the spread of the virus, the show moved to being fully filmed at Ray's home, with only her husband as a crew member to help film. This caused crew members to be displaced, and led to a dispute over payment that would have been provided for the five days of filming that was missed.
The show was scheduled to return to shooting in-studio in November, but that has now changed, as Ray will continue to shoot the show remotely. This reportedly has led to a "standoff" between producers and the crew reps over payment. "When COVID-19 forced our studio production to shut down in March, we started shooting Rachael Ray at Rachael’s home out of necessity," a spokesperson for CBS Television Distribution, which produces the show alongside Harpo Studios and Discovery Productions, said in a statement provided to Variety.
"As we moved into fall, with COVID cases increasing, we made the difficult decision to continue to shoot the show from Rachael’s home for the foreseeable future," the spokesperson added. "Unfortunately, this new format has affected some valued studio crew, including IATSE members. CBS Television Distribution has continued to pay those affected through September and October, and we have reached out to IATSE to discuss mitigation efforts going forward."
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