Below Deck Chief Stew Kate Chastain has been at it again this season, setting up the yacht’s chef and bosun to look bad in front of Captain Lee to exact her own particular brand of karma.
Kate is mean. She has demonstrated season after season that she is vindictive, sneaky, catty, and untrustworthy.
One thing she is not is professional.
And no matter how many labels she tries to slap on Ashton, Kevin, Simone, and anyone else with the misfortune to cross her, Kate’s behavior on the show isn’t a good example for other young women to follow in any industry.
I said it in a blog I wrote about her first season on Below Deck for The Huffington Post and I’m as on the mark now as I was then.
First Kate destroyed the morale of her own crew
Let’s start with how she’s treated her own interior crew this season — not only has she openly enjoyed and boasted about torturing her third stew, Simone, now she’s said she would break “girl code” on her, too, and hook up with deckhand Tanner.
Nevermind that Kate is like 10 years older than the third stew she’s supposed to be mentoring, Tanner’s mother will never recover from the shame if she has to watch her son get bagged on reality TV by a cougar like the chief stew. And she seems like a nice lady, so let’s all pray that doesn’t actually happen.
From the beginning of the season, Kate treated Simone like a moron who couldn’t be taught. The result was that Simone had to learn things the hard way and contain a seething rage for the entire season.
But Simone has done it. No matter how awful Kate was, she refused to engage.
Props to her. I hope she can maintain that through the last episode because there’s no point in burning bridges now.
But it’s unfortunate that the chief stew didn’t mentor Simone and teach her how to be the fabulous yachtie Kate claims to be.
Instead, she demonstrated a really gross lack of professionalism across the board.
It would be one thing if Kate was just bad at her job — and yes, it is her job to train her crew to be the best they can be — but the way it manifests itself, her behavior impacts every level of the yacht, from her team, to the deck crew, to the chef.
Then Kate tried to undermine the success of the deck crew
This season Kate took an especially venomous tact with Ashton once he pissed her off.
Kate outranks Ashton and has a lot more experience in yachting (cuz she’s a lot older) but she’s done nothing to show any form of leadership or to help guide him in the management of his own crew when things weren’t going well.
In fact, she’s done just the opposite.
Kate knew that Ashton was struggling with Rhylee when she joined the deck crew mid-season. She knew that Rhylee was a pain last season and used it to her advantage after they ended up as bunkmates.
Initially, before things went sideways between Kate and Ashton in a taxi after a drunken night off in Thailand, Kate listened to Rhylee complain and gave her validation, but in interviews with producers she admitted that managing Rhylee would be a nightmare and had nothing nice to say about her roommate.
Then Ashton tried to kiss her in the van and she pulled away and then she made a joke that struck him wrong — had to do with his mother and she probably meant no harm by it but there was a LOT of alcohol on board — and he lost his temper and acted like a total jerk.
Nevermind that Ashton and Kate had shared at least one previous kiss that sure looked reciprocated, the chief stew turned Ashton blowing his top into her own personal victim moment that no apology could ever fix in her head.
That’s when she began her targeted campaign to destroy him, starting with telling Rhylee what Ashton was saying to Captain Lee about her performance.
Anybody who has worked at a management level knows that was the most unprofessional move that Kate could have possibly made. She and Ashton were management, and while she outranked him, at some level they were supposed to be working toward the same goal of perfect charters and happy guests.
Kate knew exactly what she was doing when she told Rhylee that Ashton had ratted her out to the captain for taking the guests fishing in an area where it was prohibited.
And she continued to stoke Rhylee’s rage and encourage her bad behavior through the remainder of the season when what she should have been doing was encouraging Rhylee to learn how to tie the danged sailor’s knots and surprise him with that.
I mean seriously, who hires a deckhand who can’t tie sailor’s knots? They made us do them for our test at the Rehoboth Yacht Club when I was learning to sail my brother’s Sunfish at age six. It’s not THAT hard, Rhylee.
She is determined that everyone else is the problem when really, she’s just got an unlikeable attitude and no sense of teamwork. I think she needs to stay in Alaska.
Gotta admit though, I kind of enjoyed watching Rhylee turn on Kate on their night on the town before the last charter.
Kate’s done a great deal of trying to label the men on the yacht with some unflattering characterizations that could follow them into the real world, and that’s grossly unfair.
“I’m tired of working with misogynistic a**holes,” Kate ranted on Monday night.
Hold up, wait a minute! Are you even serious? Aren’t you the chief stew who made Josiah wear a gold speedo for a group of gay guests last season and offered up Ashton for a strip tease this time around?
Didn’t Kate go to Tanner’s room and try to wake his drunk butt up for sex one night after too many cocktails? She’s chief stew and he’s the lowest level of deckhand. And he’s got the maturity and hormones of a 14 year old.
Before anybody goes around sticking labels on anybody, let’s call the antics of the entire crew what they really are – UNPROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR.
And the problems start at the top.
These shenanigans shouldn’t be something that you see on a real yacht or in a real workplace.
On a real yacht that wasn’t being filmed for a reality TV show, the captain would be training the bosun on how to manage his crew, not bringing back the most controversial deckhand from a previous season because things haven’t started out dramatic enough for production’s liking.
And when the shenanigans become the sort of behavior that has all of your senior crew apologizing the next morning, it’s time to start paying attention to what’s going on.
Ashton toned down his behavior big time after he erupted at Kate. He’s stayed out of trouble since and I’ve got my fingers crossed for him through the last episode.
He apologized and it seemed like he was genuinely mortified by his behavior. Hopefully, he never does anything like that again.
Finally, Kate took down the chef, too
But Kate has only ramped up her unprofessional behavior, and this week we saw her take aim at Kevin.
Now it’s hard to feel sorry for the chef because he is a literal pot-stirrer. We all watched him hug Courtney when she was crying over Brian with a wicked sort of glee in his eyes and a half smile.
But he also really enjoyed tattling to Brian that Courtney had told him and Kate about getting dumped via text, and that caused a lot of drama and misery on the boat.
So, it’s hard to feel sorry for him with the whole penis cake debacle, but we were left not knowing how much that whole thing really impacted the guests’ experience.
I spent 11 years as a wedding planner — my feeling is that no practical joke is worth risking the charter guests’ happiness and, ultimately, the boat’s reputation and the crew’s tip.
It’s moments like those when you must err on the side of professionalism, and that isn’t Kate’s strong suit.
She’s not demonstrating professionalism to the women who work for her, and she’s giving the worst career advice to Rhylee in encouraging her to continue to buck Ashton.
Everybody on the Valor needs a huge dose of professionalism — and most of them could start by simply reducing their alcohol consumption.
Contrary to what seems to be the norm for these yachties, it’s not professional to get drunk and vent at your work colleagues. You can’t yell at your boss with no consequences, a la Rhylee, and then pretend nothing happened the next day.
Kate spent a lot of this season complaining about her lot in life, how she’s done with yachting, and threatening to quit.
I’m just left wondering if she realizes that in the real world, professionalism counts. And your success isn’t based on how many retweets your snarky remark gets.
If rumors about her getting her own reality TV show are even slightly true, I’m disappointed in Bravo. The only thing Kate Chastain can teach anybody is how to be a mean girl.