The Young and the Restless' Greg Rikaart Dishes His Latest TV Crime, Chik-fil-A Controversy
His rap sheet already includes arson, computer hacking, kidnapping and bank robbery and now The Young and the Restless' Kevin Fisher is once again a wanted man. Only this time he's innocent! Well, sort of. The mousey man-child — played by the hilariously touching Greg Rikaart — has been implicated in the sudden death of blackmailing shrink Tim Reid (Aaron Lustig). Kevin's only real offense here was being coerced by his pal Phyllis (Michelle Stafford) into helping her relocate the corpse, a la Weekend at Bernie's. But tell that to the Genoa City cops! TV Guide Magazine spoke with the Emmy-winning Rikaart about his latest run-in with the law and — of course! — his controversial Twitter beef with Days of Our Lives star Melissa Reeves.
TV Guide Magazine: Is Kevin ever going to grow a pair? Then again, do we want him to? It's always such a blast watching him squirm and twitch and sweat.
Rikaart: Oh, I think Kevin has a pair but he's malleable. He can be a real sucker, especially with a powerful lady like Phyllis. He is so easily manipulated and prone to bad decisions but that's what's fun about him. He's best when he's in panic mode. It's never interesting when things go his way.
TV Guide Magazine: He wouldn't be in this current mess if he was a better liar. Claiming he was an encyclopedia salesman when he got spotted at Tim Reid's apartment wasn't the best idea.
Rikaart: [Laughs] He is a dreadful liar! Leave it to Kevin to raise suspicion by coming up with an occupation that hasn't been relevant since 1985! He's really going to freak when he finds out Tim's landlady, Beth [Brett Butler], has described him to the authorities. Now they have an extremely accurate police sketch.
TV Guide Magazine: So accurate that I hear even Kevin's brother, Michael [Christian LeBlanc], will think he has a shady connection to Reid's death.
Rikaart: Kevin is so ethically challenged it was only a matter of time before he and Michael were on opposite sides of the law, especially now that Michael is the D.A. Before this, Kevin always went to his brother for help. Not this time. He decides to lie to him, which only make things worse. Michael will insist that Kevin come down to the police station and meet with Beth face-to-face. But it's really no crime to move a dead body...is it?
TV Guide Magazine: Uh, I think it might be obstruction of justice. Or close enough.
Rikaart: Yeah, but compared to some of Kevin's other crimes, it's nothing.
TV Guide Magazine: Like the time he was the Chipmunk Bandit?
Rikaart: [Laughs] That became such a joke between me and [former head writer-exec producer] Maria Bell. Whenever I would see her during that bank robbery storyline I would say, "Uh, did I do something? Are you mad at me? Do I need to apologize for something?" That story was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. It was hard to make it make sense.
TV Guide Magazine: So what's your feeling on the big exec producer-head writer switch at Y&R?
Rikaart: Oooh, that's a loaded question, Michael Logan!
TV Guide Magazine: It is?
Rikaart: Let's see...what can I say?
TV Guide Magazine: Jeez, I didn't mean to throw you.
Rikaart: Well...I always enjoyed Josh Griffith's writing when he was here last time and I'm looking forward to working with him again.
TV Guide Magazine: And your new exec producer Jill Phelps...?
Rikaart: I've known her casually over the years and it's exciting to get a chance to work with her.
TV Guide Magazine: Alrighty then. Let's go to a topic you do have lots of opinions about — your Chick-fil-A war with Melissa Reeves. Your tweets and follow-up piece in the Huffington Post won you a lot of support, yet you also heard from people who thought you were unfair and out of line. Where you at with all that?
Rikaart: It was very disappointing to read some of the responses. I did get a lot of support but the general tone of political discourse in this country is very disheartening. I was getting challenged by some people for having attacked Melissa Reeves when, frankly, what I said was anything but an attack. I expressed my disappointment that she has aligned herself with a company that promotes hatred and bigotry, and I stand by that. I welcome a conversation with her. It's the only way people on different sides of an issue can meet in the middle and understand each other's point of view. I would have loved that opportunity with Melissa but she blocked me from her Twitter account. [Reeves subsequently blocked everybody by shutting down the account.]
TV Guide Magazine: Is Twitter the best place for such discourse? Isn't all that short, hot, frenzied commentary, much of which can be misinterpreted, only adding to the discord? Just throwin' it out there.
Rikaart: Well, maybe, but on the flip side I feel like I have this tiny bit of notoriety and it's my soapbox. Because of what I do professionally, people are interested in what I have to say on Twitter and it's nice to be able to stand up for the things I believe in.
TV Guide Magazine: Some folks feel you attacked Reeves' right to free speech.
Rikaart: No one is saying that Melissa Reeves doesn't have a right to free speech. Dan Cathy, the president of Chick-fil-A, is also entitled to his opinions and beliefs but he's funding organizations that are hate groups, organizations that want to criminalize homosexuality in this country and throughout the world, and that's where Melissa Reeves' alignment is really disappointing to me. I am proud to stand up and be an advocate for LGBT rights. This is the last hurdle of the civil rights movement. I'm glad this is such a hot-button issue. I'm glad people are so impassioned about it, even the people who are against equality for all Americans because they are reacting out of fear, fear that the LGBT community is winning. And it is winning! Part of why I stand up and am proud to be an advocate is because this is less about grownups than it is about children. This is no different than kids being bullied in a schoolyard. People wonder why there is an epidemic of bullying in this country. Well, it's because kids are learning it from the grownups, from people like Melissa Reeves who is a grown-up bully. I believe in respecting everyone's religious beliefs but those beliefs don't belong anywhere near my rights or anyone else's.
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