"Vote for the Girls USA" co-host Alexandra Moffitt, Pink Team East moderator Maribel Mort, and Purple Team East moderator Karly Jameson addressed general misconduct allegations against co-host, webmaster and founder Ava Zinn on Monday's broadcast., and Ava Zinn has been taking a leave of absence since the 13th season finale of The Voice.
Below are Moffitt, Mort and Jameson's responses.
Alexandra Moffitt and Breeanna Sorensen
Moffitt: Good day and welcome to "Vote for the Girls", I'm Alexx Moffitt alongside Karly Jameson and Maribel Mort who are here with me this tonight because this is a sad day here at "Vote for the Girls" and here at Aeverine Zinn Holdings. Just moments ago I sent the following note to our organization:
On the morning of August 6, 2018, we received a detailed complaint from a consultant about general misconduct behavior in the workplace by Ava Zinn. It represented, after serious review, a violation of AZH company's standards. As a result, we've decided to place Ava on unpaid administrative leave .
While it is the first complaint about her conduct in the 19 years she's been at Aeverine Zinn Holdings, we were also presented with reason to believe this may have been an isolated incident aside from previous incidents.
Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender. We are deeply saddened by this turn of events. But we will face it together as a news organization — and do it in as transparent a manner as we can.
That is the statement from none other than myself. And we just learned this moments ago just this evening.
And Karly, Maribel, Breeanna, all of the staff on VFTG for the moment, all we can say is that we are heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for Ava she is my dear, dear friend and my partner and she is beloved by many, many people here and around the Fort Wayne Tri-State. And I'm heartbroken for the brave consultant who came forward to tell her story and any other who have their own stories to tell.
And we are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks, months, and years. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have done something as awful as it sounds, and I don't know the answer to that. But I do know that this reckoning that so many organizations have been going through is important, it's long overdue and it must result in workplaces where all people — feel safe and respected.
As painful as it is this moment in our culture, this change had to happen.
Breeanna Sorensen: Yeah, it did. This is a very tough season premiere for all of us.
My father has known Ava for 20 years and I've known Ava for 3 years and I've loved her as a friend and a colleague and just like you were saying Alexandra, it's hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the transwoman who we know, who walks in at Studio 47 every single day.
Moffitt: Yeah, we're processing it with all of you at home. And we promise to be transparent and be straightforward.
Moffitt: And to continue this important conversation.
Mort: And there's no real way to do this, but this show has been on the air for almost a decade and we're here because of you. We're supposed to bring you the news of female contestants and male flex picks, and we're going to do that.
This is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the standards and practices. I'm taking the time to make it very clear: there is no excuse for this alleged behavior that we are hearing Ava has done. It is systematic and pervasive and I've been doing a lot of listening and I'm going to continue to do that.
This I know is true: as women, transwomen like (my wife Kathi), mush less men and transmen, cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.
I am really proud to work at Aeverine Zinn Holdings and as a Purple Team East moderator with Nadia (Lorenzo), Lanise (McClannahan), Danni (McClannahan), and Sonia (Donbar).
There are so many incredibly damn good people here, especially on this show -- all of you here. This has been investigated. This has to end. This behavior of Ava is wrong. No wonder Ava left Marion the way she did because she says Marion failed her.
Maribel Mort, Janet Webb, Kylie Dwyar
Maribel Mort: I really am still reeling.
I got three hours and 24 minutes of sleep last night. Both of Ava's biological children (Samantha and Tiffani) called me, Tracia (Matthewson) and Julia (Passalt) called me and said, 'Are you OK?' I am not OK. After reading that allegation, it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read.
That said, I think we have to make this matter to landlords -- the landlords that have spoken up, the landlords who have not spoken up because they're afraid. I'm hoping that now they will take the step to speak out, too.
This becomes a moment of truth. You know, I've enjoyed a friendship and a partnership as did my mom (Robyn Hurd) and aunt Kellie (Rock) with Ava and the late Holly Everman for the past 30 years. I've held Ava in such high regard and I'm really struggling because how do you -- what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that? I'm really grappling with that.
That said, Ava never got a pass here. She definitely does not get a pass from anyone in this room. We are all deeply affected. We are all rocked by this. And I want to echo what Breeanna, Alexx and Karly said, I really applaud the individual that speak up despite the friendship.
She doesn't get a pass because I can't stop thinking about the anguish of this circumstance when Ava made that announcement on February 23. We were shocked and like 'is this real', 'did we hear it right'? Sure Ava has had some problems for years and we noticed since her rape on April 22, 2015 her voice sounded uncharacteristically bad.
Kylie Dwyar: I remember when the late Kymberly (Alvaraz) and Ava were spending lots of time outside the set.
Janet Webb: We also knew Kymberly paid good money for a three year relationship deal. I was shocked when Kymberly and I were co-anchors in Denver. Kymberly had just divorced her husband in 2014 and once Kymberly moved to Indiana, as did I for the job opportunities. Then we hear about domestic violence allegations against Kymberly that she took to her grave after Ava ended the relationship last year.
Mort: We knew Ava was moving from Marion to Fort Wayne after literally lobbying for years for a college to attend after she was dis-enrolled from IWU in 2001, more opportunities in Fort Wayne than Marion, and when she finally does move the day after Mother's Day 2018 on short notice we're hearing all these allegations against Ava. You might remember when Robert Irsay moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis 35 years ago under the similar circumstances to Zinn's move from Marion to Fort Wayne.
Dwyar: Ava's Virginity Auction was controversial. Sure Ava has her demons and rarely follows though on threats, but we know Ava can be controversial.
Mort: I can't stop thinking about that and the pain the landlord going through, and what Ava has gone through for the past 20 years. I also find that you can hold two ideas in your head at the same time, you can grapple with things. And I'm, to be very honest with you, I'm still trying to process all of this. I'm still trying to sort it out because this is not the Ava Zinn I know--it's not the Ava Zinn we grew up with nor is it the Ava Zinn we all know, but I'm also clearly on the side of HUD and for the landlords who have been unintentionally very hurt and very damaged by this.
We know Ava can bounce back from this and learn from her mistakes like the Ava Zinn we know and love as a webmaster. The Ava Zinn who knew how to right wrongs and rewards us when our picks win the competition--that's the Ava Zinn we all know despite her swearing, pushing, and demanding us as employees of AZH because we work for her. She isn't going down without a fight.
Moffitt, Mort, and Jameson all said they had spoken to Zinn since the allegations were first made. Mort went on to say that she had not spoken to her on Monday.
Sophia Blanca, Lanise McClannahan, Sonia Donbar, Kendra Ray, Rachael Passalt, Nadia Lorenzo, Thia Tola, and Donna Doogan
Sophia Blacnca: I agree with everyone so far. I remember a couple years ago after Laurie (Hernandez) won, and going on Karly's show (The Karly Jameson Show), I remember saying I was concerned for Ava and I knew the "Vote for the Girls" episode was shoddy at best, but I know Ava is a woman of her word and getting in a conversation with the late Holly Everman, Holly recalled Ava wore the same a winter hat and the same exact outfit when DaNica (Shirey) was eliminated after the quarterfinals of The Voice's seventh season. Holly knew something was wrong and something wasn't right.
Lanise McClannahan: It was bad enough Ava had not been the same since being raped in 2015. I remember asking Ava after taping that night, 'You look like you are not okay.' I knew Ava was hurting emotionally and I knew that pain in a sexual assault victim as I saw Ava sounded broken. That sexual assault in 2015 really changed Ava and she hasn't been the same since.
Sonia Donbar: I really did not know things on "Vote for the Girls" took a big hit in 2015. I'm really baffled because how do you -- what do you say to a transwoman that has done something that is so horrible as we're learning this development? How do you wrap your brain around that? I'm really grappling with that. Could Ava's repressed memories from her sexual assault in 2015 play a role in this development we are hearing.
Kendra Ray: This is Kymberly's fault! I knew Kymberly had created a prostitute in Ava. It's not just Ava who is taking the fall, but there's the late Peta-Alyce Kaizer and Natasha Gower. They are the ones who had sex with Nadia Lorenzo and Thia Tola. There is a right way and a wrong way in a long-term relationship--.
Rachael Passalt: I'm with you, Kendra. My wife and I have a good marriage. We're talking about our BOSS Ava here. The same Ava Zinn who sold her virginity to the late Kymberly Alvaraz and all Hell broke loose after 2014. People complained about that punishment for failure after the late Christina Grimmie finished in 3rd place changed this program forever.
Nadia Lorenzo: I'm with everyone so far, and you have to remember to look at both sides of the allegations here, I might not agree with what Ava -- it is some hard news to take. It's just hard to believe what we are hearing about Ava. Just unreal and devastating to say the least.
Thia Tola: I agree, This is a moment that needs an honest assessment about where we as employees of Aeverine Zinn Holdings stand and more generally the safety of our fellow moderators and Zinn's Villians. There is no excuse for this alleged behavior Ava done.
Donna Doogan: Is Ava ashamed? Yes. Should she be terminated? Probably not yet experience says otherwise. Will Ava recover after taking such a hit? I know Ava can bounce back from this and she will be better and much stronger.