Kyle Viljoen is hitting out at “Below Deck Mediterranean” fans who have been criticizing his behavior on the show. After the 9th episode of season 8 ended on a cliffhanger as Captain Sandy Yawn told the stew she didn’t want someone like him on board and accused him of “bullying,” Viljoen posted a lengthy emotional message on Instagram.
“I still live my life day to day, each day is immensely challenging to be happy and hopeful,” he wrote on November 20. “When I have had so much anguish, pain, horror, despair, rejection, loneliness, testing times, financial strain, mental deterioration, body dysmorphia and more. This season has been incredibly painful to watch and relive. I have had to drag myself out of bed each day during these months just to get by.”
Viljoen then revealed that he’d been receiving endless death threats and homophobic comments. He reminded fans that he was a human being like them with real emotions and urged them to refrain from online bullying and trolling. “I have had it all and feel like there is still not enough, what I can say is you are going to see me going through more difficult situations in the season and hell I am exhausted of it too,” the “Below Deck Med” stew continued.
“All I want is a chance to grow, so I ask, grow with me and journey with me as I navigate my path to mental healing,” he concluded and shared some of his future plans. He said he’d be taking on “new hobbies” like podcasting, planning his wedding to his fiancé, Dr. Zachary Riley, and would be starting a new career in New York City.
However, Viljoen shared his interest in returning to the screen, whether for “Below Deck” or something else, as he wrote, “I continuously dream to be on your television screens more and more by sharing the stories that matter.”
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Kyle Viljoen Also Addressed His Recent Health Struggles & Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Diagnosis
In his Instagram post on November 20, Viljoen also opened up about his recovery following his diagnosis of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS). The South Africa native first shared on Instagram on October 1 that he was in hospital recovering from a serious medical emergency and his SJS diagnosis.
SJS is a “rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It can take weeks to months to recover and if it was brought on by medication, people with SJS have to avoid that medication for the rest of their life.
Viljoen wrote, “I was actively in therapy to overcome what I had experienced in life and during the season until my medication then further placed me in ICU with a rare diagnosis called Steven Johnson Syndrome. Can you just imagine you trying to actively heal your mind only for that to have furthermore placed you in a deadly situation? How mentally awful that must be?”
Kyle Viljoen Received a Stern Talking-To From Captain Sandy Yawn After Natalya Scudder’s Exit From the Show
The 9th episode of “Below Deck Mediterranean” season 8 was a dramatic one featuring a massive fight between Natalya Scudder and Viljoen. Viljoen lashed out at Scudder for interfering in a conversation he was having with Max Salvador.
The two ended up getting separated by chief stew Tumi Mhlongo but Scudder continued to feel unhappy at her situation. During the crew’s day off, she decided that she could no longer continue on the boat and left the day off to pack her bags. The following morning, she told Captain Sandy that she needed to leave for her mental health.
Yawn, after getting a summary of the situation from other crew members, called Viljoen up to the bridge. She pointed out that he was the common denominator in all of the problems in the interior and said she could not have someone like him on the team. However, the episode ended on a cliffhanger without revealing whether the longtime captain fired Viljoen or not.