The firing of Michael Muhney back in December 2013 from The Young and the Restless was shocking and unexpected. As the second actor to play Adam Newman on the soap, his exit was mired in controversy.
Fans and cast members took sides after allegations of sexual harassment were brought to light. Reportedly, co-star Hunter King complained to producers that Muhney had groped her breasts on two separate occasions, and she would go to the police if the actor wasn’t fired.
That story has never been confirmed by King or CBS. Muhney even refuted the charges in January 2014 on his Twitter page.
Now a just-released September 2013 interview with Jim Romanovich of the Radio Retropolis podcast is shedding new light on possible reasons why Muhney was let go from the daytime series. The 40-year-old actor is quite frank about the politics of the show and how he refused to play the game behind the scenes.
Was Muhney nothing more than a thorn in the producers’ sides? Romanovich’s interview doesn’t do any favors to the former Veronica Mars star’s case.
The key point in the interview seems to be his sticky relationship with longtime Y&R star Eric Braeden, who played Victor Newman on the series.
“The thing about Eric is he doesn’t take s**t from anybody. He’s known for that,” Muhney said in the 2013 interview. “He’s been around enough years for that to be known.”
Braeden certainly deserves respect on the set, but it sounds like Muhney was looking for that same level of consideration.
“I haven’t been around as many years for that to be known, but it’s also a fact with me. He knows I don’t take any s**t from him either and I’ll call him on it and he’ll call me on mine,” he said. “We’re like that in real life with each other. I don’t need to be his best friend and hold hands and skip down the street on the weekends and go shopping together.”
That on-set tension carried over to their real-life relationship, because Muhney decided to put up a barrier between them. He didn’t want the father-son dynamic to cross over after the cameras stopped rolling.
“Where I cut it off with Eric is that I can’t look for him to be a father to me,” he explained. “I can’t expect the kind of advice on the side, behind the scenes, or on Twitter, or in an interview where he might be speaking to me. We’re just two grown men who are co-stars.”
Muhney admitted that he had to put up an “emotional wall” with Braeden and that “it’s been the hardest to do with him over everyone” because a part of him was looking for a father figure. That’s when the former soap actor revealed the dents in his armor.
“I’ve never spoken about this with him, but perhaps there’s a sense of, ‘If you’re going to be a son to me, respect me like one.’ At the same time, I’m a grown man and I’m not your son,” Muhney shared. “So there’s a little pushing and poking and prodding, but it’s all relevant to what we do.”
At the time, there were rumors going around that Muhney was trying to push Braeden off the show. Even though he denied the claims, it’s clear that there was a lot of tension happening between them while he was on Y&R.
Besides Braeden, he also complained about the nominating system for the Daytime Emmy Awards, because he felt like it was unfair. He took it upon himself to try and fix the process. However, his revelation seemed to take a dig at his fellow co-stars.
“I had to make this decision early on — did I want to make friends at work or did I want to go to work? A lot of these soap actors, they’ve been in since they were young or they’ve been in for so long, they don’t have a life outside of soaps,” he said. “There are a few healthy ones who have outside lives. I don’t need to make friends at work here. I also don’t mind rubbing people the wrong way and being honest [about the broken voting system for awards].”
The outspoken actor said others supported his fight against the awards show, but there was a “bully crew” who were fine with the status quo because “it worked for them, G*******t.” He believed many cast members were afraid to ruffle any feathers.
Even with these revelations in the Radio Retropolis interview, there is still a cloud of mystery as to why Muhney was let go. Was it the harassment allegations or was there more going on behind the scenes that fans weren’t aware of? His open conversation with Romanovich proves he wasn’t scared to speak his mind and that might have cost him his job.