Former DAYS alum, Patrika Darbo (Ex-Nancy) has issued an official statement on what had transpired over the last week when it was revealed that NATAS (The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) had revoked her Daytime Emmy win in the Outstanding Guest Performer in a Digital Drama Series category for her role on The Bay for submission violations. (This year’s Daytime Emmys were handed out back in late April).
Darbo expressed the following; “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.
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 Emmys would be a show of good will by NATAS and would help to restore integrity and confidence in the Daytime Emmy Awards.”
Following Darbo’s statement going viral; NATAS Sr. VP Daytime Emmy Awards, David Michaels, and Interim President of NATAS, Adam Sharp responded via an in-depth online interview with Soap Opera Digest. Here are a few excerpts below.
Sharp’s rebuttal to reading Darbo’s statement: “First and foremost, we take any irregularities in the process very seriously, and when these claims were detailed, we launched a comprehensive internal investigation, which led us to the conclusion to disqualify Patrika and Thomas Calabro (who was also nominated in the Guest Performer category for THE BAY) and to not take action against some other violations, mainly because these were two different cases. What’s not noted in the statement, and got sort of lost in other reporting, is that the episode count rule, that rule that says that you cannot have more than one episode in the Guest category or more than four episodes in the Supporting performer character, does not apply to Patrika’s case. She did violate that rule, but had already been disqualified before we had begun considering that. There is another rule that says that a guest performer cannot have appeared in a prior season. It was brought to our attention that she had, in fact, appeared as that character several seasons ago. The same issue came up regarding Thomas Calabro, and so those two performers, one male and one female, were disqualified on the basis of that rule.”
On addressing that the Supporting Actor in a Digital Drama Series got to retain his award, which Darbo expressed gave the perception of ageism and gender inequality perpetrated by NATAS, Michael’s said: “That probably bothers me more than anything. No. 1, if anyone knows me and No. 2, that isn’t how NATAS operates, and No. 3, it never even occurred to me about who was male and who was female, just like it wouldn’t have occurred to me who was what race or what. My mind doesn’t work that way.
Sharp added: “And just to be clear on the facts here, our effort was to take each individual rule and apply it in the fairest way possible. In the episode count rule, we determined this rule should not be used to promote or demote any nominees selected by the judges. No one that was in violation of this had their nominations or wins disqualified, no one was moved up because someone ahead of them had their nominations disqualified because of that rule. For the prior appearance rule, everyone who violated that was disqualified. Ms. Darbo and Thomas Calabro. One man, one woman. To say that it was a sexist application of the rule is false. The rule she violated and the rule she was disqualified for also disqualified a male performer. The difference here is not the gender of the performer, but the fact that the performers violated different rules with different circumstances and therefore were determined differently.”
So, what do you think of the Emmy controversy? Share your thoughts below