Jennifer Esposito, the Celiac Mafia Has Got Your Back


I just started a mafia! Who wants to join? I’m not sure if I’ll be getting into drugs or just stick with guns, but regardless it’s totally going to be gluten-free. First target: Those jerks who are making fellow celiac, Jennifer Esposito, lose her shit.

I’m not 100% clear on what the issue is, but it sounds like Esposito is in need of some consideration for her medical condition on the set of “Blue Bloods” on CBS. I also don’t know given the language and “official” statements if Esposito was forced out, or if she left on her own. Regardless, she’s saying it is the former and here’s her tweet on all of this noise:

“CBS PUT me on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doctor said you needed a reduced schedule due to Celiac,” she wrote. “CBS didn’t listen to my doc and I collapsed on set. Which everyone saw! After a week off my doc said I could return to work but CBS implied that I was NOT truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise! It’s been almost two months without bringing me back to work + keeping Me from working anywhere else!… Absolutely shameful behavior.”

Take that, CBS! I think?

Since my husband is “in the biz” and will be totally annoyed that I just referred to him as such, I know that long hours are a given when you’re making the magic that is TV. Whatever Jennifer Esposito’s doctor is telling her to do, it obviously does not involve working 14 hour days.

As a fellow celiac, I know that we don’t all present the same in the way of symptoms. While I feel like I could work a 14-hour day — assuming I hadn’t just been gluten’d — I can’t speak for Ms. Esposito. In fact, when I was getting sick 8 — 10 times a day and had no idea what was happening, I totally quit my job. Or at least went part-time, because napping (aka, passing out in the middle of the day) is not conducive to full-time work.

Unfortunately most of us don’t really have the luxury of not working due to celiac symptoms. In fact, most of us work through them even when we wish we were dead. I am not endorsing this kind of martyrdom, I’m just stating a fact. It certainly doesn’t mean we should, and if we can advocate for ourselves, well, that’s what we should all do. Regardless, CBS should maybe look into some sensitivity training as it seems they’ve got enough management/talent conflicts over there to start their own reality show.

Have you ever had to leave your job because of that asshole, gluten?

image via imfdb.com

9 Comments

Filed under Celiac Disease, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Jennifer Esposito, the Celiac Mafia Has Got Your Back

  1. I could write a book, albeit boring to most people, about losing or having to quit jobs because of celiac symptoms, especially when I was living in LA. That was long before my diagnosis so I just felt like my physical constitution wasn’t strong enough for it. Stress would make it worse. If I *really* wanted the job, like a good studio gig, I’d be so sick with nervousness I’d be living off of CocaCola and saltines during the first few days on the job. Needless to say, that didn’t really help. Being a broke 20-something year old who thought she could only afford to eat spaghetti didn’t help either. On top of it, there’s always somebody right at your heels to take a job if you can’t hack it. While I had some years of fun in LA, I also have some grief over the work situations. I worked _so hard_ when I could. I ended up giving it up because of hand and joint pain. Guess what? Most of that went away after going gluten free 15+ years later.

  2. OOOOhhh, I lost my shit last night when this broke on Deadline. I’ve had to quit working on all sets, because even when Crafty and Catering say they’re aware of your condition and will provide you alternatives – they’re not and they wont. Working as a PA in peak condition 14 hour days on mild to medium glutening is hard enough without getting fired – somedays I’d still be mildly glutened with only being provided with a box of spaghetti sauce for lunch, and I found out they were adding Bisquick to the eggs at breakfast, and they wouldn’t stop. Productions small and large barely can feed you, even when they say they’re trying – but the truth is they want to get rid of anyone who makes any ripples in production’s day. The challenge to make people think you’re not lying, or being difficult or a diva when they refuse to acknowledge that Celiac is a legitimate disease is impossible. I 100% believe Esposito, and I gladly join your mafia.

  3. To reiterate – on a big budget Hollywood film set – lunch was a to-go box of spaghetti sauce.

    • That is LAME.

      It’s true that every time I go to a catered lunch (TV sets, or otherwise) I leave hungry. You would think since Esposito is a star there would be some consideration, but people really just don’t get it. Phhhhpt!

  4. Nicole

    I 100% completely understand. I was a teacher for many years & can’t tell you how many times i “disappeared”, aka, was locked in the bathroom for long periods of time. I was soooo tired & malnourished because I too was so stressed & embarrassed of my condition. I subsisted off of Chex & almonds all week. It didn’t help that being a teacher means you are “on” all the time, with all eyes on you. You can’t exactly excuse yourself when symptoms arise. It’s also hard to explain to co-workers & bosses & then they look at you like you are crazy. I finally quit & now work from home in an entirely different field.

  5. Frank

    I think the character was shallow and pointless anyways. Shame on Esposito for manipulating CBS into an undeserved pay raise which she clearly doesn’t deserve. Maybe now an up and coming actress who appreciates the role more will be forthcoming. horay for CBS!!!

  6. Shannon

    Um hellloooo Frank, what pay raise is she getting, or trying to get? You’re a moron! Buy a clue, please! She’s fired, and Cbs won’t let her out of her contract, so she can work elsewhere, so clearly not only has she NOT gotten a raise, but she has no income coming in at ALL! To say that this is all about trying to get a raise is insulting to Jennifer, and to the Celiac community, and all who suffer from this dibilitating disease!! What Cbs has done is truly horrible, and no one deserves to be treated this way! I am thoroughly disgusted by Cbs’ behavior, and I completely support Jennifer, 100 percent! I, too, would like to know why Jennifer’s doc hasn’t weighed in, though it might be a privacy issue?! I’m also wondering why none of Jennifer’s castmates have publicly supported her, especially since some of them have no problem tweeting about their friends/family’s upcoming projects! I’ve thought about the fact that maybe Cbs has put a gag order in effect, but what are they going to do, fire EVERYONE on the show? I don’t think so!!! Jennifer deserves all of the love, support, and help that we can give her. I’m curious to see how the ratings of Blue Bloods will be in the next few weeks, as I know quite a few people are very angry, and refusing to watch the show! Shows typically don’t fair as well, when characters are replaced….not all, but most! Unlike Frank, I think Jennifer’s character was very important to the show, and the chemistry between She, and Donnie, was incredible! I am team Jennifer all the way!!

  7. Pingback: So, a Leaky Gut Walks Into a Bar . . . | Gluten Is My Bitch

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