AceShowbiz - Jay Manuel is breaking his silence on Tyra Banks and "America's Next Top Model". Days after Tyra was met with public criticism for her past insensitive commentaries on the modeling competition series, Jay opened up about the reality of his relationship with the show's creator, and set the record straight on his departure after Cycle 18.
In a candid interview with Variety, the 47-year-old TV personality confessed he was not close with the former model. "To be very honest, we really have no relationship to speak of, which is really sad," he spilled. "Our time together on 'ANTM' was amazingly productive and, at times, magical. We got to experience being part of a global phenomenon."
Asked if he believes Tyra's seemingly harsh commentaries on the show came from a good place, Jay responded by pointing out, "Tyra was an incredible model. She understands the business." He added, "I think what she was trying to do was give the girls a taste of tough love of what they had to experience."
"When she stepped into the industry, no one prepared her for a lot of the initial backlash that she got as a young, black model trying to make it," he went on explaining. "It was very difficult for her, and so I really respect that part of her journey and for wanting to communicate that to the girls."
During the chat, Jay also weighed in on the backlash Tyra has been receiving lately. "I do think it's a little unfair for people to persecute Tyra now, especially because she has already taken heat for her past executive decisions in past years," he voiced his thought. "However, I can't really defend her either because when ratings were high and things were great, she remained a clear figurehead, because it was her show."
"Consistently, when s**t hit the fan and people wanted to talk about some of the things that were said on the show, we would have another singular EP come forward to claim that all creative decisions were made as the team, and I really wish that were the case, but that just simply is not true," he continued.
Elsewhere in the interview, Jay insisted that rumors he got fired from the show were false. "When we parted ways, I had already completed my contract after Cycle 18 with no plans to return for Cycle 19, and that’s something that people don't know," he explained.
"It was 100% my decision to leave the show, as I was ready to move my career in a different direction, but unfortunately at the time, my departure was misreported to the press, and contractually, I could not speak about leaving the show," he added. "Now, I can speak about it, so I can be clear that my departure from the show was one of choice."