Samantha Suarez joined season 10 of the OG show in the hit franchise in the makeup department before assisting on Below Deck Sailing Yacht. While filming the spinoff’s fourth season, which took place in summer 2022, Suarez recalled an alleged encounter with King during a “dark day” of filming when the cast was meant to remain in their hotel room.
According to Rolling Stone, Suarez accompanied a drunk King to his room after he filmed his interviews for the day. King’s behavior was allegedly erratic and Suarez was concerned he would venture out of his room so she stayed to keep an eye on him.
After Suarez told King she was planning to leave, he allegedly tried to stop her. “[I said] ‘I have to go — I need to go bring other people water and food,’ and he’s like, ‘No, no, please,’” she claimed to the outlet. “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.’”
Suarez turned toward the door and King allegedly proceeded to press himself against her. He allegedly refused to let her leave until she started to fight back, which is when a talent manager called Suarez’s phone.
“I’m freaking out, and [the talent manager] goes, ‘What’s wrong? What’s going on?’ And I’m like, ‘Just leave me alone.’ 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—ked up, and so I’m just like, ‘Just go back in your room and don’t come out.’”
Suarez said she immediately contacted producers about the incident. As a result, King was instructed to sleep on the boat on “dark days” so he wasn’t in the hotel with the rest of the cast and crew members.
Bravo issued a statement in response to the allegations, telling Rolling Stone, “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.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Below Deck’s production company, 51 Minds Entertainment, added, “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.”
King did not provide a comment to the story, Us Weekly has also reached out for comment. Suarez told Rolling Stone that the incident caused her to take a break from work because of declining mental health. After she reported the incident to 51 Minds Entertainment, Suarez was put in contact with an HR representative who arranged for her to speak with a counselor.
Suarez later informed executive producers that she was upset with how the situation was addressed. She recalled feeling as if the responsibility was on her to request for King to be fired instead of producers making the decision.
Other crew members, who asked to remain unnamed, told Rolling Stone about separate incidents where King was seen grabbing a female cast member’s butt. He allegedly continued to make advances after his costar told him to stop — which the crew reported to the control room. The unnamed employees went on to say that King had an alleged pattern of making other women on set uncomfortable by pursuing them.
“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,” they stated. “I had to promote and make this guy who just assaulted someone look awesome. That was my job, to make this person look cool, capable, and exciting.”
During her interview with Rolling Stone, Suarez also accused Below Deck’s Ross McHarg of making her feel uncomfortable during a car ride back to the hotel. “He was just making these weird, lewd, sexual, gross comments toward me to the point where the other boys in the car were like, ‘Shut up Ross, why are you saying these things to her?’” she claimed about the incident, which allegedly occurred during season 10 of Below Deck. “There was stuff like that that I expressed to production as well and, you know, nothing happened thereafter.”
McHarg did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s requests for comment. Suarez, meanwhile, was not asked to return to the show, which she felt was retaliation for reporting King’s behavior to the production company.