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Elizabeth Frankini's departure from Below Deck Season 8 has proven to be even more momentous than we thought. Not only was she the first stew in the history of the franchise to be let go, but it was also the rare occasion where Captain Lee Rosbach wasn't the one actually doing the firing. Instead, chief stew Francesca Rubi delivered the news.
Captain Lee explained why he allowed Francesca to let Elizabeth go in the Below Deck After Show, which you can view, above. "I thought because I had fought Chess on that particular matter that it might help her out mentally a little bit if she were the one to say, 'OK' — not like 'I told you so' to me — sort of a vindication that she was correct in her assessment and my assessment was misplaced," Captain Lee said, before admitting, "Well, no, f--k it. It was wrong. So, wrong's wrong. You gotta own it, and I do."
Francesca had asked Captain Lee to let Elizabeth go earlier in the season, but he hadn't agreed with the chief stew until later on. So Francesca said in the Below Deck After Show that she it "good" when she finally got the opportunity to let Elizabeth go. "I've been wanting this to happen, like, the whole season, and it finally got to that point," she shared.
However, there was also a part of Francesca that felt bad about seeing Elizabeth go at that point. "You know, it was sad as well," the chief stew explained. "She had been on for the whole season, and she had helped us through it. She didn't get us through it, but she helped us through it."
Captain Lee said that "it was time" for Elizabeth to go at that point. "We had exhausted every possibility and given her every opportunity to step up to the plate," he said. "Her job came secondary, and that's not what I need. And I might've been a little late in pulling the trigger on that, because I think it affected the team overall."
Elizabeth revealed in the Below Deck After Show that she didn't see this coming. "It was shocking at the time. I was really upset. I hold a lot of pride in myself and in my intentions and in my actions. I thought I was working hard and doing a good job, but it never felt good enough for her," Elizabeth said of Francesca. "I know my flaws, I guess, having had a thing with James [Hough], how that screwed stuff up, but I was so willing to move on if she just communicated with me. I just wish there was more communication with us, better communication, because I would have fixed anything she had a problem with."
The stew also didn't agree with the reasoning for her being let go at that time. "Her reason was saying that it was because of the guest cabin thing, that was the last straw, I just thought that was so weird and unfair because Captain Lee had already talked to us about that before the charter. If I was gonna get fired because of that, it would've happened then," Elizabeth said. "I don't know what happened over the charter that would have provoked me getting fired other than that she just can't stand my face anymore and wants me out of there."
During the Below Deck Season 8 finale, which aired on February 15, Eddie Lucas noted in an interview that he felt like Francesca firing Elizabeth at that point was a "pretty evil" thing to do. The bosun explained his comments while appearing with Francesca on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on February 15.
"It was only evil in a way that I feel like holding her through the charter and using her to the very last end and then getting rid of her, I think it should have just been get rid of her right away and then get someone else in when you could," Eddie explained in the below clip. "I mean, we had to do it with Sunshine [Shane Coopersmith], and we went a charter without him. It happens, but I don't think Francesca's evil."
"I know I'm not evil," Francesca said in response to Eddie's comments on WWHL. "I wish I would have fired her when the mustard gas situation happened, actually. You know, it was just Captain Lee and I sort of agreed it wasn't the right time, and we couldn't get anyone at that point. I don't like dragging people through the mud. It's not the best thing to do for the team or for me."
Even though her charter season didn't end how she had hoped, Elizabeth is keeping her signature optimism as she looks back on her time on Below Deck and looks forward to the future.
"And that’s a wrap on this production for me! So thankful for this experience and the many lessons learned, and friendships made. It’s scary putting yourself out there for the world to see, failures and all, but it’s also so incredibly freeing to fully realize that even the low moments in life can directly lead to some of the highest," Elizabeth shared in a post on Instagram on February 15. "I am so incredibly blessed and happy in my life and career today, and for that reason I have no regrets."
Want more Below Deck? New episodes air every Monday at 9/8c or catch up on every episode ever through the Bravo app.
Get your first look at the upcoming Below Deck Season 8 reunion, below.
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