As fans of Bravo’s Below Deck franchise know, yacht crews have hard enough times manning their vessels and catering to guests under the best of circumstances. And as you’ll understand when you see what happened to Kyle on Below Deck Mediterranean, a physical injury on board just makes the crew’s work that much harder.
A “stew” (or steward) from South Africa, Kyle Viljoen is “the life of any party,” as Bravo explains in his bio. But he’s also a dedicated crew member aboard the motor yacht Home. “A hardworking stew with an affinity for fun, drama, and luxury, he’s ready to spice up the charter season and deal with demanding charter guests, and at times, challenging crew members.”
And that’s why Kyle’s workplace injury was so hard to watch…
Kyle Viljoen twisted his ankle and had to go to the hospital.
In the Oct. 24 episode of the reality show, fellow stew Natalya Scudder and the Below Deck Medcameras find Kyle lying on the floor of the pantry, with his foot sticking out at a garish angle. He tells Natalya that he twisted his ankle, so she calls for help from bosun Storm Smith, while chief stew Natasha Webb retrieves Captain Sandy Yawn from her quarters.“He’s rolled his ankle,” Natasha tells the captain. “He was crying.”
Sandy inspects Kyle’s ankle and tells him that if he can’t put his weight on it, then he’ll have to go to the hospital. “He needs to get an X-ray,” she tells his colleagues.
While Kyle seeks medical attention, Natasha and Natalya try to get some work done. “The interior team [is] really taking the pressure of being stuck at the dock, so to lose one from your team, I literally feel sick,” Natasha says in a confessional. “And then to see Kyle in pain is, like, one of the most upsetting things. My heart is in my stomach.”
Kyle got back from the hospital close to 4 a.m, saying that he found out he stretched ligaments in his foot.
He had to stay off his feet after his injury, which meant his job was at risk.
In his own confessional in that episode, Kyle says he’s thankful his foot isn’t broken, but he’s worried because the doctor told him to stay off that foot for seven days.
“Being gay and working in interior, I’ve faced so many walls to overcome,” he adds. “I don’t want people to look at me and be like, ‘Yeah, you know, he is soft. Of course he’s going to take this time off.’ … I fought damn hard to be in this position. I want to be here. And all I’m thinking, you know what, I’m going to be sent home.”
Those fears weren’t unfounded, as it turns out. In the Oct. 31 episode of the show, Natasha breaks bad news to Kyle as he relaxes in his bunk. “Kyle, I’m so f—king gutted,” she says. “I just had to speak to Sandy. I was like, we’re gonna have to get another Stew for the next trip, because what else are you meant to do? It’s not working, Kyle.”
“I don’t want to be replaced,” a tearful Kyle responds.
“I don’t want you to be replaced,” says Natasha. “I don’t know what else we can do.”
Will Kyle make a comeback? We’ll have to keep watching Below Deck Mediterranean on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET to find out…