Jennifer Esposito, elaborating publicly for the first time since she was put on medical leave by Blue Bloods producer CBS Television Studios, says the sequence of events leading to her estrangement from the crime drama “makes me sick.”
According to excerpts obtained by TVLine from an interview airing on Fox News Channel’s FOX Files this Sunday at 9/8c, Esposito recalls how her doctor advised that she seek a reduced work load due to her struggles with Celiac disease. The actress claims that rather than accommodate her request or dismiss/replace her outright, the studio kept her on contract and suspended her without pay.
“Look, they have a job that they need done. I get it,” she tells FOX Files. “You don’t think I can do it in the two or three days that I am offering in that… work space of eight days? Then I get it, you have to replace me. But that’s not what happened. What happened was ugliness.”
Esposito relates the story of the day she collapsed on set not once but twice — first when exiting a shuttle van, and shortly thereafter in the makeup trailer where tried to regain her bearings. “The [assistant director] came in and said, ‘I’ll get the medic,’ and we were like, ‘There is nothing [to do], unless he can cure me of Celiac disease. This is we’ve been trying to tell you.’ They had to carry me into the car and bring me to the doctor, where I [was] for seven hours.”
As things stand now, Esposito claims she is still suspended without pay and on contract, and thus is forbidden to seek employment on another network TV show. She could, however, do film or stage work, or appear on a cable series that doesn’t air in a 10 o’clock time slot.
Blue Bloods meanwhile is rotating in new characters played by Megan Ketch and Megan Goode to sub for her Detective Jackie Curatola. “Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work on a very limited part-time schedule,” CBS TV Studios said in a statement issued Oct. 20. “As a result, she’s unable to perform the demands of her role and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence…. [W]e hope that she will be able to return at some point in the future.”
Having been an actress for 20 years, Esposito acknowledges there are “so many things of injustice that happen in this business. It’s what you sign up for…. This, though, is something that is not about me, I feel. This is about a disease that people don’t understand. And what went on [here], it makes me sick.”