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Rachael Ray Responds to ‘Disturbing’ Reports of Talk Show Crew Being Let Go Without Pay Amid the Pandemic

Clearing the air. Rachael Ray is firing back claims that several members of The Rachael Ray Show crew were let go without pay amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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On Wednesday, October 28, Variety reported that “more than 20 crew are being cut loose without warning and without pay,” despite the talk show’s reputation of “inclusiveness” and “respect.” Ray, 52, began to film her daytime series from her home in upstate New York when the COVID-19 crisis forced studios to shut down in March. The transition to filming remotely — without the help of seasoned crew members — left cameramen, audio engineers and other technical crew staff in the lurch.

Rachael Ray Slams Reports of Unfair Treatment Toward Crew: They're 'Family'
Rachael Ray. Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

As the pandemic progressed, producers originally planned for The Rachael Ray Show to return to its New York City studio in November. However, the team later decided to continue shooting remotely for the rest of the current season amid ongoing health and safety concerns. Without filming in the studio, Variety reported that the furloughed crew members have been left without pay for “roughly two-thirds of their scheduled workdays this season.”

Hours after news of the workers’ dispute made headlines, the longtime Food Network personality issued a statement denying the “disturbing” allegations.

Related: From TV Shows to Music Festivals: How Coronavirus Is Affecting Hollywood

“There’s some news in the media today that is disturbing to me, and I do not think it is accurate,” she wrote in an Instagram Story on Wednesday. “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.”

Ray continued: “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.”

Rachael Ray Slams Reports of Unfair Treatment Toward Crew: They're 'Family'
Courtesy of Rachael Ray/Instagram

The three-time Daytime Emmy winner has faced challenges of her own amid the pandemic. In August, her Lake Luzerne, New York, home went up in a blaze that required multiple fire departments to help put out the flames. At the time, a rep for Ray told Us Weekly that she and her husband, John Cusimano, and their dog, Bella, were marked safe.

One month later, Ray detailed the experience during an emotional segment on her daytime show. “In the years that I lived here, I learned an awful lot. In the few weeks since it burned, I think I’ve learned even more,” she said as she walked through the ruins of her home.

Related: TV Shows Resume Production Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic: Pics

Despite the devastating damage, the My Year in Meals cookbook author was thankful for the support she and her loved ones had received.

“This was my safe place,” she said in September. “I think what we’ve learned since the house burned is just waves of gratitude that we’re alive and all the people that have reached out to us — people that we know and total strangers from all over the world.”

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