California; Hayward — Hollywood and show business is no stranger to controversy. This time around, RollingOut reported that Netflix and Shondaland are being called out by Ruby Barker, one of the actresses on the hit show “Bridgerton.”
Barker, who was a regular cast member as Marina in the first season and a guest star in the second season, revealed that she experienced her initial mental health crisis shortly after the conclusion of the first season. Subsequently, she faced a second episode in 2022, but she hasn't received any contact from anyone associated with the production.
In an interview on Oxford University's 'LOAF' podcast, the 26-year-old expressed her disappointment, stating that neither Netflix nor Shondaland has reached out to inquire about her well-being or offer any form of post-production care or support. She emphasized the absence of contact or support, saying, 'Not a single individual has reached out to me, despite my experiencing two psychotic breakdowns due to my involvement in that show.'"
In a time where mental health has become a top priority for many individuals and workplaces, it is shocking to hear that practices still exist on set that cause suffering for those affected.
She proceeded to describe how her portrayal of the character had a profoundly negative impact on her well-being.
"While we were filming, I was experiencing a gradual decline in my mental health," she explained. "It was an extremely distressing situation for me because my character was deeply isolated and marginalized, placed in dire circumstances."
Barker went on to share her experience after being hospitalized just a week after wrapping up filming for 'Bridgerton' season one. She emphasized that this incident was kept under wraps, as the show was about to be released.
She stated, "In the lead-up to the show's debut, I was emerging from the hospital, witnessing a surge in my Instagram following, and facing numerous commitments... My life was undergoing a dramatic transformation overnight. However, there was still no support, and there hasn't been any support since. I was making a genuine effort to act as if everything was fine, that I could continue working, and that there were no issues."
This just proves Netflix is a power and money hungry company that doesn’t care about its workers. I mean this should be obvious given their residual pay…
— steven ❀ (@arianaunext) October 30, 2023
everyone being like "but why?"... she had to film traumatizing scenes for this show and people completely brushed past them lol hope she is getting the help she needs and taking care of her space
— 𝐒𝐮𝐯𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚🕊️❥𝕾𝖙𝖆𝖓✰ᵇᵘⁿⁿʸ✰ (@Suvarna_17) October 30, 2023
It is imperative that studios consider the weight of their actors’ workload and portrayal as there is clearly potential to traumatize people who are involved with the decisions and expectations brought forth by writers and directors.
Noumaan Faiz, (he/him) is a journalist and entertainer from Hayward, CA who covers culture and entertainment.
Edited by Nykeya Woods.