The fallout from this year's unprecedented Emmy mix-up continues. Patrika Darbo (ex-Nancy Wesley, Days of our Lives; ex-Shirley Spectra, The Bold and the Beautiful) has issued a statement regarding the snafu that led to her being stripped of her Emmy win in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series category. Darbo blasted the Academy's decision to take her Emmy away as "inequitable and wrong."
If you haven't been following the drama, after this year's Daytime Emmys were handed out, here's a brief synopsis. You can read Soap Central's full coverage of the Emmy nightmare here.
On April 27, Days of our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful's Patrika Darbo was awarded a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series for her work on The Bay. Darbo, as it turned out, had appeared in a previous season of The Bay and was therefore ineligible to even be nominated in the Guest Performer category.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was alerted to Darbo's ineligibility, as well as several other nominees whose Emmy submissions did not follow the rules of their respective categories, two days prior to the awards ceremony. No action was taken before the Emmys were handed out.
In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Adam Sharp, interim President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, states that while NATAS was contacted about irregularities before the ceremony, the claimant said the matter could wait until after the ceremony. "[The claimant] did not actually detail their claims until May 18. We immediately launched our investigation and reached resolution on all these points less than a week later."
Late last month, nearly a full month after Emmy night, Darbo had her Emmy win rescinded.
The Emmy was then awarded to All My Children alum Jennifer Bassey, who finished second in the Guest Performer category for work on Anacostia. After Bassey had been notified that she was now the winner, she was subsequently informed that she, too, had to give back. It wasn't that Bassey was ineligible, but rather that her Emmy reel contained scenes from two episodes rather than the required one episode.
As a result, NATAS decided that there would be no winner in the Guest Performer category. It should be noted that neither Darbo nor Bassey made their own Emmy submissions; producers for their respective shows made the submissions.
The winner in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Digital Series category, whose reel contained scenes from more than the maximum allotted episodes mandated in the Emmy rules, has not been asked or told to return his Emmy.
In a statement to Soap Central, NATAS said that the content in that actor's reel was "deemed not to have impacted the outcome of the competition." The content from Bassey's reel that came from the second episode amounted to about eleven words.
Additionally, NATAS objects to the assertion that there was bias involved in the decision to revoke Darbo's Emmy. "That probably bothers me more than anything," David Michaels, NATAS’s senior vice president Daytime Emmy Awards and Events, said. "[T]hat isn’t how NATAS operates, and [...] it never even occurred to me about who was male and who was female. [...] My mind doesn’t work that way."
Darbo's complete statement is provided below. You can read the entire interview with Sharp and Michaels here.
As disappointed as I am about having my Daytime Emmy taken back by NATAS, as a Co-Governor of the Performers Peer Group at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Los Angeles, overseeing the Primetime Emmys, I am more concerned about how this incident tarnishes the Emmy brand. I did not submit myself for Daytime Emmy consideration, my producers at The Bay made the submission. However, at the end of the day, the onus for a correct submission is not on the producers of The Bay, or any other producers; the ultimate responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of NATAS. They should have vetted each and every submission and then notified those submitting of any submission errors in advance of the voting and the ceremony.
I understand that in my category there were at least four submission errors. NATAS was made aware of these potential errors two days prior to the ceremony and made a conscious decision not to deal with it until after the ceremony was over. These errors were then not brought to light until after the Daytime Emmys were presented and awarded, meaning that other actors who did properly submit have now lost their chance at winning a Daytime Emmy.
In addition to the rule violations in my category, there was a similar rule violation in the category for Supporting Actor in a Digital Drama. I was made aware of this violation when NATAS called to inform me of the situation. After taking back my Daytime Emmy, NATAS called another female performer in my category to re-issue the Emmy, as she was the next runner up according to the accountancy firm. The very next day, NATAS called her back and said she could not have it as she had submitted one episode too many (the rule is that one episode may be submitted for consideration and the new recipient submitted two). However, the winner of the Daytime Emmy in a Supporting Actor in a Digital Drama was allowed to keep his statue, (the rule is that four episodes may be submitted for consideration, the recipient submitted five episodes). NATAS determined after the fact that the rules for Supporting Actor and his show were "ambiguous".
As a performer in film and television for over three decades, who fights diligently for fairness and equity for my fellow actors by volunteering my time and leadership at both SAG/AFTRA and the TV Academy (ATAS), the arbitrary and after-the-fact ruling feels inequitable and wrong. A rule is a rule. If the rule is going to be changed or declared "ambiguous" it should be done prior to voting, not after the votes are in and the Emmys have been handed out.
The inequity in this year's Daytime Emmys based on ageism, gender inequality, and perceived favoritism is, in my opinion, a big blow to the Emmy brand. The TV Academy, who administers the Prime Time Emmy Awards, is very clear that Emmys are awarded to those who achieve excellence in television. I'm beginning to wonder what NATAS feels the Emmys stand for.
For the sake of the overall Emmy brand, I feel an outside audit of the submission and voting process of this past Daytime Emmy Awards would be a show of good will by NATAS and would help to restore integrity and confidence in the Daytime Emmy Awards.
What do you think of how this matter was handled? Do you think there was a more equitable solution? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.