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‘The Morning Show’: Nestor Carbonell Disagreed With Karen Pittman and Greta Lee About Yanko’s Apology

In the fourth episode of 'The Morning Show' Season 2, Stella (Greta Lee) and Mia (Karen Pittman) force Yanko (Nestor Carbonell) to apologize on air to people offended that he used the term 'spirit animal.' Lee and Pittman agree with their characters' decision, and Carbonell supports Yanko, even wishing he'd been more defiant.

The Morning Show is no stranger to addressing touchy subjects head on. The entire series began with the allegations of sexual assault and harassment against former anchor Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell). The show continues to deal with sexism, racism and toxic culture in the work place. In the fourth episode of season 2, Yanko (Nestor Carbonell) had to apologize for an offensive comment, and may have only made it worse. At least according to his bosses Mia Jordan (Karen Pittman) and Stella Bak (Greta Lee).

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for the fourth episode of The Morning Show Season 2.]

Yanko looks to the side at a woman. He is wearing a black suit jacket with a blue shirt and tie.
Nestor Carbonell as Yanko in ‘The Morning Show’ | Apple TV+

Lee, Pittman and Carbonell spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Sept. 10 by Webex about the new season of The Morning Show. Their opinions on the apology situation varied as drastically as their characters’. New episodes of The Morning Show premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.

Greta Lee agreed with her ‘The Morning Show’ character

When Yanko referred to his spirit animal in a Groundhog Day weather report, Native Americans accused him of cultural appropriation. Yanko insisted he did not mean it that way, but Lee agreed ignorance was no excuse. 

We talk so much about cancel culture and what was going on in the world nationally and globally and how complicated it is and who’s in a position to say what. Getting to see also there’s this generational element to it where Yanko, he genuinely and without malice arguably just does not get why that is unacceptable. So yeah, I also appreciated that Yanko’s character is Cuban-American and Stella is Korean-America. They both have this experience of being outsiders and being people of colors. It’s great to see and yet they don’t agree. They don’t agree on this and can’t get on the same side. I thought that was a really dynamic and honest way of portraying that.

Greta Lee, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 9/10/21
The Morning Show stars Billy Crudup and Greta Lee watch Foo Fighters perform
Billy Crudup and Greta Lee | Apple

When Stella forces Yanko to make an on-air apology, Yanko hedges his statement so he doesn’t accept full responsibility. That pisses Stella off in principal.

“I think because whether or not she has certain views politically and personally, she’s also a boss,” Lee said. “That comes into play too.”

Karen Pittman empathizes with Yanko

Mia sides with Stella in asking Yanko to apologize. However, Pittman believes Mia can see both sides. 

“I think that Mia had extraordinary sympathy and compassion for Yanko,” Pittman said. “I think she really likes Yanko. Even if he is misunderstood, I think it’s her desire to really have him be his best self and he’s struggling for reasons that get revealed during season 2. Yeah, I think she really wants him to be okay.”

However, Pittman also agrees with Lee that meaning well is not itself an excuse. 

The Morning Show star Karen Pittman leans on a counter in the control room
Karen Pittman | Apple

The Morning Show is exploring this idea that not all skinfolk are kinfolk. Just because you understand racism from your perspective, it doesn‘t mean that you totally understand what it looks like from another person’s perspective. So I think we’re navigating through that as a culture as well as a lot of other things, but that conversation was I think beautifully written, such a snapshot of what it looks like to be completely misunderstood, to totally get it wrong but also be extremely well intentioned. I think that so much of us as we try to figure out how to find common ground in this new reckoning around race and culturally appropriate behavior.

Karen Pittman, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 9/10/21

Nestor Carbonell wishes Yanko stood up to ‘The Morning Show’ producers

Even behind the scenes, Carbonell thought his character was in the right. Carbonell said he wished Yanko had pushed back harder, but agreed his apology was lacklusters. 

Nestor Carbonell and Ruairi O'Connor stand backstage
L-R: Ruairi O’Connor and Nestor Carbonell | Apple

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“I was all about Yanko being resolute, holding his ground,” Carbonell said. “If anything, I was like, ‘Dude, why are you even doing this apology? Don’t go there’ but Yanko didn’t listen to me. So off he went and did his lame apology. He did what he could because he had to answer to his conscience on some level. His conscience told him that this is just absurd on his face, that the head of the news division has completely misrepresented who he is and has not backed him in this thing. So he feels deeply underappreciated, deeply misunderstood. So no, I was hoping he would stand his ground and he did in the end, but it took him a while.”