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Chris Engen Blogs About His Y&R Departure


Chris Engen has posted a long message on his MySpace page regarding his exit from the role of Adam on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.

CHRIS ENGEN - STATEMENT TO THE PUBLIC

Good Day. This is the first time in my life that I address an audience so vast and varied. There are a number of heated topics that have become entwined with my recent decision to quit my job, and I feel there are a number of truths that deserve to be stated, a number of untruths that deserve to be rectified, and a few of my own ideas that, by way of circumstance, I am compelled to inject into the debate. This is the only statement I intend to make regarding this subject. I would like first to apologize, as I feel I owe a great many of you at least that. I know that a choice like this appears weak and impulsive. Honestly, it was the last thing I ever thought I’d do - the absolute LAST thing I ever wanted.

The job has been a great challenge, and my hat is off to all my fellow actors who have mastered it so gracefully. I know a great many of you have endured far worse than what you perceive to have been my circumstance, but I do not believe that just because you have suffered a particular injustice, so too must everyone else in order to understand that injustice. I want to apologize to any of my fellow actors who I may have disappointed. I would also like to apologize to those of you who feel slighted by this choice, as I have been branded a "homophobe" by several members of the press. This is, of course, absurd and many of my dearest friends are homosexuals who would be more than happy to speak on my behalf. My decision had nothing to do with religion, or anything I learned at Bishop Montgomery High School. Bishop is a great institution of learning that encourages tolerance and acceptance of others. I do not ascribe to any one religious ideology but do value the truth that exists in them all. I think the unfortunate assumption that has been made is that Catholics are intolerant of homosexuals on the basis of their Catholicism. Intolerance of anything is a product of one’s underlying belief system as an experience of limitation. It is the line we intellectually draw within ourselves that prevents us from understanding those things we reject, because it defines the boundaries of who we are as individuals. We are what we are, but we are also NOT what we are not. Intolerance is a natural reaction that, I believe, we must understand in order to defeat. It is not a fire to be stomped out by an angry foot or extinguished by a inundating stream of media exposure. Homosexuality is a quality of beingness: one of many qualities that make up the rich diversity that humanity expresses.

True -- I was not comfortable with many of the challenges they presented before me, but I put my head down and did my job. The fact that I had an opportunity as ostensibly attractive and lucrative as this, particularly in difficult economic times and with so many talented actors and industry professionals out of work was, of course, more than reason enough to be grateful. I considered it part of the challenge and within my job description to do the best with whatever storyline was being written for me, as I was very fortunate to be getting a storyline in the first place. I understand that the writers have a very difficult task. They accomplish more in a week than what other shows do in over a month. I never stormed off the set, nor have I stormed off any set in my 18 years of struggle as an artist. I felt generally unhappy about my contribution to the show, and had greater and greater difficulty making any sense of the challenges they were asking me to face. If that makes me a limited actor, then so be it. I was allowed ONE meeting with Maria Bell, and I called in sick ONCE in my 16 months on the show. In the end, I didn’t feel that decisions were being made in my best interests, personally or professionally.

I learned a great deal in my time there and I am eternally grateful for the challenges that enriched me as an artist and as a man. As a single father, with sole custody of a 10 year-old boy, this was neither a practical decision, nor was it an easy decision to make. I believe that as an actor, and as a human being, I deserve better than to be forced to do something that I don’t feel is right on many levels, and that should have nothing to do with the choices that other people make. My visage and my craft were being utilized to tell a story that I wasn’t inspired to tell. I have a great deal of respect for the show in general and all those hard-working people who make it possible, and it is out of respect for them and a sense of duty toward them that I asked to be removed from my duties. I know this doesn’t conform to contract stipulations and it is regrettable that my personal feelings came into conflict with that precedent, although I don’t think that would have ever been the case if what was being requested of me was not unprecedented. Ultimately, the producers were very understanding and amenable and I, in fact, worked until they told me they didn’t need me anymore. I am sure that more of my colleagues would speak on my behalf if they too weren’t afraid of the possible consequences, and I don’t blame them for that. It has been a difficult journey for me, and many others, on the road to understanding the nature of artistry and what it takes to succeed. Strength is measured by what we are willing to stand for, not by what we are willing to lie down and take. I want to thank everyone who has voiced such tremendous support and encouragement. Much love and gratitude to you all. God Bless. Namaste

Chris Engen

Do you feel for Chris Engen? Or is this a case of an actor bolting on a show and not admitting his true reasons for leaving? I think we will be debating this one for some time to come.

33 comments:

  1. I think Mr. Engen just committed career suicide.

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  2. I liked Chris Engen as an actor, but after all the drama about his character I am not impress.

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  3. I will have to digest this one over time. I'm glad he finally spoke out though.

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  4. I do not understand why the entertainment industry has a problem with people who refuse to go against their conscience. Just because it may not be "the politically correct" choice, does not make it an invalid choice. Everyone has a RIGHT to act on their own conscience, and if Chris Engen was being asked to do something totally against his beliefs, then he is very brave to stand up for what is right. If everyone has "the right to choose", why doesn't he?

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  5. Jazz, I see this situation as being more about signing a contract, making a commitment and then breaching the contract more than following your beliefs. If you sign a contract to appear on a soap opera, it is likely you're character will be involved in adulterous affairs, felonious activities and much more. There's no way Engen or any other actor can think anything else going into it. So if were are issues with the material, he never should have signed a contract with the show committing to them.

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  6. Unhappy with his contribution to the show? Sounds like he's blaming himself for something. Also goes on to say he can no longer make sense out of the material, that's not his job. It's also not his job to direct or produce.

    Mr Engen asked to eat his cake way to soon. Now his eating his own words.

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  7. I'm not sure about this either. I guess you have to respect his believes, but its not a smart career decision even though it seems like Y & R tried to make themselves look like the good guy

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  8. My two cents:

    This isn't about his personal beliefs, this is about allowing his personal beliefs to interfere with his contract. What if he walked out after refusing to kiss a woman of color? I'm guessing people wouldn't be as quick to rush to his defense.

    There are plenty of gay/lesbian actors who have had kisses and love scenes with a partner of the opposite sex. They may not have wanted to do it, but it was in their contract. A professional will keep their word, even if they don't like it.

    The only thing more annoying than blatant homophobia is his passive-aggressive liberal rhetoric. I'd have a lot more respect if he just said, "I wouldn't mack on a guy so I walked out."

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  9. From SOD's Lynn Leahey:
    I'm glad Chris Engen responded to the rumors that he quit Y&R because he refused to kiss a man on television. Because of the timing of his exit, and that fact that he is taking the unusual (and professionally risky) step of breaking his contract with the show, people jumped to the conclusion that he's a homophobe. Judging from his statement on MySpace, that doesn't appear to be the case at all. Engen says he's been upset with the direction his character has been going for some time. Indeed, Adam has taken some confusing, dark twists. Of course, lots of actors go through stages where they are unhappy with a show's writing, and soldier on. I don't know whether Engen's decision to quit is brave or foolhardy, or a little of both, but I appreciate his reaching out to explain his point of view.

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  10. MaryGrace Powers (Love Y&R ..only soap I dvr)
    Bottom line - I think Chris Engen is a really great actor. He has been outstanding on the show and has tremendous range. He will certainly be missed as his performances are continuously nuanced and his talent ranks with some of the best. I really respect him for a decision made, which anyone with a brain knows, in this economy was not something done on impulse especially for an actor. Reading his statement and learning he has sole custody of a ten year old son gives me more respect for him than I can state. I stumbled on this story today, and never even knew his name. Ironically lately I have been trying to catch the credits as I was curious as to who was playing the part of Victor "Adam" Newman Jr. Engen's character has run the gamut since he was first introduced on Y&R and his performances time and again have been impressive to say the least. Why is it that a deeply personal decision is automatically viewed as homophobic? I am certain Chris is not and I don't even know him. Why not ask the Y&R writer(s) why this troubled character is all of a sudden gay? Talk about sterotypical move! Gays should be more upset that the "bad seed" Newman son is being portrayed as gay. Why always make the gay person riddled with problems? How about some positive gay characters?When you have a child, and everyone's circumstances differ, it takes more courage to consider the bigger picture and the affect it may have in this case on his son. I have an idea. Why don't the Y&R writers make Victor Newman Sr. gay? Miguel can come back to the Newman ranch and we could learn that they have been lovers in the past. Do you think Eric Braeden would have a say on that plot twist? Good Luck Chris!P.S. This is the first time in my life I have ever written a comment on a blog. I don't think I will again and I really don't know how people get the energy to blog all day!!!

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  11. I don't know if his personal feelings and/or belief system had anything to do with it, because I obviously don't know him. What I do know is the way Y&R has been steering this character has been ridiculous and wasteful. Having him kiss a man, when he has blatantly heterosexual, is equally ridiculous, and disprespectful to homosexuality. If they wish to make the argument that the character was doing this for a manipulative purpose it is a slap in the face to the struggles that gay men and women face everywhere.
    So congratulations Chris. Sadly, I fear you've shot yourself in the foot...

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  12. BLAH BLAH BLAH!! You sucked as an actor! I hated you on the show! You needed a good body waxin and I threw up in my mouth every time you took your shirt off! Thank god for fast forward! GOOD RIDDANCE! Finally a wish of mine has come true!

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  13. I am sure his son (age 10) had a lot to do with his decision. What kind of message are you sending, when you will tolerate anything for a pay check. As a single woman raising a daughter (age 11)knowing she is watching and learning from every move I make, I would not go against my beliefs for a pay check. When raising a child, you have to walk the walk not just talk the talk.

    Good luck

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  14. I think Y&R could be real jerks sometimes and they need to respect their employees more than they do. I heard some pretty messed up things that they do and just because the show is rated #1 soap doesn't mean they have to think their sh*t don't stink and treat people like a$$holes.

    I think it was a hard choice for Chris Engen but you can't blame him for sticking to his beliefs. They were making him a crazy nutjob and people didn't even like him because of his character. If they turned him gay that could kill his career even more. Don't worry Chris you will be just fine! Your a great actor and times are rough so don't be discouraged. You will move on to bigger and better things in your future. Keep up the good work!

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  15. Chris, I would like to give you a standing ovation. I am so proud of you. For so many people, it's about money or a contract. That is not at all what life is about. Life is about honesty and standing up for what you believe in. I will never understand why people that are gay can stand up for what they believe in, but people that aren't gay can't stand up for what they believe. Thank you for being such a great example to me (and I'm 40 years old) and to my sons and especially to your son. I have watched Y&R since I was in my teens. This has greatly altered my perception of them. Thank you again! Don't ever regret this. If you do any other shows or movies, I will be a fan!

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  16. He is a gifted actor, but part of being a working actor means that when you sign a contract you agree to tell a story. Soaps are different than movies in that you really don't know where the story will ultimately go. If you aren't comfortable with that then you should not be a soap actor. Stick with movies or TV guest appearances. Soaps are often far-fetched. If Mr. Engen did not know the nature of the beast then he was terribly naive...or gutless.

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  18. Mr. Engen,
    I believe that you did what was best for your son and yourself. If you were not comfortable with the role Y and R was giving you, then you have the right to make that choice and not play that role. We are supposed to be living in a DEMOCRATIC society. You have EVERY RIGHT to do what you did. I'm sure it is easy for the writers to write these "plots" when they are the ones NOT ACTING their roles out. If Mr.Engen was a writer for the show and asked one of the writers to play the role of being a blind, manipulative, gay, revengeful person, I would think they may hesitate to play the role that they are given. Also, Mr. Engen is THE ONE WHO HAS TO LIVE with what he does with his life. The writers don't have to do that. Writing the actions are very different from actually doing the actions. I believe everyone has a right to feel whatever they feel. If Mr. Engen felt uncomfortable with the role he was given, then he has that choice not to play that role. Mr. Engen, I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours. Stay strong with your beliefs and be proud of your decision. I'm sure your son will be very proud of you. -From a Y & R fan in Canada

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  19. Chris, I was disappointed to hear you left the show. I think you did a wonderful job playing Adam. I understand your reasons for leaving and would have done the same had I been in your shoes. Good Luck and I look forward to seeing you on other things.

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  20. When acting in Daytime television, an actor knows that the character can be taken in any direction before you start day one. These shows depend on continuity of character, especially if they've been given significant story lines. Its not about YOUR morals. You aren't playing YOURSELF. I'm sure if he'd been asked to kill a child he wouldn't of quit. If so, then he is in the wrong business. Its not the Chris Engen show, its the Young and the Restless. I wouldn't think if he killed a child on the show that he'd do it in person, nor would I think he's gay in real life because he might be gay on tv. Just like I wouldn't think he was a doctor in real life if he played one on tv. So this really is about him being homophobic. I bet he is morally against muderers, but would play one if asked to.

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  21. Chris, I was so disoppointed when I saw you had been replaced. I think you did a great job playing Adam. After, viewing the last two episodes of the show I am disoppointed to see where the young and restless is going with the show. I admire you for leaving. God bless and best of wishes for the future.

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  22. Bravo Chris! We all have the right to stand up for what we believe in and in this case, walk away. He has the right to decide what he does and who he portrays as an actor. WE DON'T HAVE TO LIKE IT OR AGREE WITH IT. But, if he handles the situation with grace, we can respect it.

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  23. I have been watching Y & R since 1987. Am totally hooked on the show, and really enjoyed watching Chris Engen. I had started to wonder where this story line was going, and was disappointed to see the turn of indicating that he was 'gay'...I agree with one of the blogs on this page...why are gays always portrayed as people with psychological problems ?

    I admire Chris for making a stand, and not selling out his principals for a pay check. I will miss him on the show, and hope to see him again soon. I will always be a fan. Good job as Adam... The thought of Victor being protrayed as gay would be something to behold indeed !!!!

    Marion - Comox B.C. Canada

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  24. I totally agree with Chris if he left because of the gay sex he had with Raife. Come on who in their right mind would do that if they werent gay? To make Raife believe he loved him and that it wasn't him that was tourturing ashly? hey, that happens in the real world. I liked y&r when william bell was alive and writing for it. Now it SUCKS. What unbelievable story lines. no wonder actors want to leave!

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  25. I agree with what you said Jazz, because ultimately we 'do not' have the last say over our lives. Kudos to him for standing firm to his beliefs, even if others don't want to understand them. As far as a 'career move', keep your head up son, one door closes but an even better one will open up for you else-where. Pay NO attention to the 'nay-sayer, player-haters', they don't speak for you or anyone else.
    Thanks for your input and kind and insightful words MaryGrace Powers, Joyce (I agree about the 'paycheck issue' especially when children are involved)the Anthonys, Jenean, Eva Smith, helen, kevin8152 and Barbie, just because society is going one way with what's new on the scene, doesn't mean I (we) have to follow suit.
    Please know we're praying for you, no matter what and most important, God has your back and that's all that really matters. Pray for those who speak against you, even when they don't want to understand why you did what you did. God bless and keep you as well.

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  26. I agree with Lisa on 5/30/09.
    Nameste, Om Shanti, Chris

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  27. I am behind Chris 100% for standing up for what he believes. I enjoyed him in the role of Adam very much, but the actor portraying 'Adam' now is much better suited to the role, i.e. a nasty disposition and all-around bad boy. I would love to see Chris in another role where his talents are appreciated. Thank you very much.

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  28. Fast forward a year later, it turns out that this character Victor Adam Newman, Jr. isn't gay afterall. He was betraying and taking advantage of a gay friend/lawyer. I still think Mr. Engen shot himself in the foot for walking out. No producer in his/her right mind will want to hire someone who breaks their contract if the story line doesn't suit him.

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  29. Your absolutely right! I hope his morals and all the crap he said to justify his quitting pays his bils. I also hope the soaps have blackballed him. Some would say homophobic, some bigot, some predjudice. To me just plain stupid. I didnt like him anyway! Love the new and hopefully permanent Adam!

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  30. I must say I am impressed with Chris Engen for standing up for his beliefs. I assume those who disagree would NOT stand up for their own beliefs. I thought the plot line was a bit contrived having little, if anything, to do with the storyline. It appeared to me that someone wanted to write him out of the series and, if true, they would have continued to harass Chris Engen until that happened. How many other Y&R actors have compromised their beliefs to satisfy their masters?

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  31. Yes, GEORGE! I agree with you. You used the perfect words to convey your feelings....well said, my friend! :-)

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