There’s no excuse for Luke and Laura’s behavior on Below Deck Down Under
Below Deck Down Under season 2 left viewers shocked after they had a front-row seat watching Bosun Luke Jones and Stewardess Laura Bileskane attempt to separately take advantage of their inebriated co-stars. Producers were forced to step in, breaking the mold of what is a troubling trend in reality TV and showcasing some terrifying normalized behavior.
Reality TV is the voyeuristic peep show that glamorizes toxic relationships and sees abuse played out as shallow entertainment. It’s the trainwreck you can’t stop watching, with producers sitting by to enjoy the flames of their making more often than not.
And yet, Below Deck Down Under saw viewers exposed to a terrifying turn of events that played out not once but twice in the span of a single night.
Why were Luke & Laura fired on Below Deck Down Under?
Bosun Luke Jones and Stewardess Laura Bileskane were both fired in episode 7 after they made inappropriate sexual advances on their coworkers, forcing producers to step in to prevent further assault.
After a night out celebrating, Luke stripped down nude and climbed into Stewardess Margot Sisson’s bed — without consent and while she was inebriated. He tried to close the door on producers and was ultimately told by Captain Jason Chambers to spend the night in a hotel before being promptly fired the next day.
Laura had been continuously going after Deckhand Adam Lukasiewicz, making him uncomfortable on numerous occasions and not taking no for an answer. She also told Margot that she sympathized with Luke and didn’t think his firing was fair, comments that had her following in his footsteps and kicked off of the yacht.
Making for a hard watch that strays from reality TV’s usually light-hearted content, this raises some important — and overdue — questions. How often does this type of behavior fly under the radar in real life, and why do proven predators continue to get away with it?
It’s sad to admit that it was refreshing to see quick action taken against Luke and Laura. This is representative of a bigger problem that expands beyond the realms of entertainment: the behavior of abusers will often be excused under the guise of alcohol or “miscommunication.”
In the end, it comes down to entitlement. Alcohol will never serve as a replacement for consent, and to label Luke’s (or Laura’s) behavior as “acting” is to turn a blind eye to blatant sexual assault.
The Me Too movement grew to prominence in 2017 — five years ago — and yet society progresses slowly. A 2023 study found it is still not the norm for employers to prevent sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace.
In fact, only 30% of women felt their workplace handled incidents correctly despite 54% to 81% enduring some level of sexual harassment. And it is important to note that men can also be victims of this type of behavior, as Laura so terrifyingly demonstrated in her relentless pursuit of Deckhand Adam Lukasiewicz.
Below Deck’s protection of its cast has been heavily praised for breaking this trend, but it also shines a light on an everpresent issue that is still pushed aside. Luke and Laura felt so confident in their behavior that they never considered the ramifications of acting out on camera.
This level of entitlement is the result of a society that chooses to protect its perpetrators time and time again. Without colleagues like Chief Stew Aesha Scott, Captain Jason Chambers, and the producers of Below Deck, incidents like these will continue to take place when the cameras aren’t rolling.