Love & Hip-Hot: Atlanta star Erica Mena has been given the boot.
She will appear in the last three episodes of season 11, but will not return for the next season of the VH1 show. This comes after Tuesday’s episode, in which Mena called Queen of Dancehall Spice a “blue monkey” during a verbal brawl, inciting shock and rage among viewers.
In an official statement today (September 2, 2023) the Love & Hip-Hop franchise said they have “never shied away from hard conversations in our community.”
“Working hand-in-hand with our partners, viewers will see the impact of Erica Mena’s remarks play out in the final three episodes of the season. Effective immediately she will not appear in the next season of Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta.”
In the nail-biting episode titled “Mena-ce to Society” Mena and Spice sat down to resolve a previous misunderstanding, but the conversation quickly escalated into a heated argument involving personal attacks and derogatory language.
Spice prodded Mena about her relationship with her eldest son, claiming that he hates her. Mena, visibly angered and confused, demanded to know how Spice had that information. The situation escalated when Mena flipped over the table.
The production crew intervened to hold back Spice, but not before she threw a shoe at Mena and continued to make inflammatory remarks.
Mena, of Puerto Rican-Dominican descent, responded with the racially charged comments, even referencing Spice’s health scare last year and imitating a monkey’s sound.
The term “monkey” has a painful history when used in a racial context, particularly against people of African descent. It has been used historically to dehumanize, perpetuate stereotypes, and justify discriminatory practices and attitudes.
Since the news of Erica being fired, hundreds of viewers have aired mixed reactions. Some are alluding to the unfair treatment of Mena, after the producers deliberately released the episode.
“Y’all filmed it…edited…aired it… THEN fired her? Why not just had cut it out n dealt w/her on the back end?” said one curious Instagram user.
“Y’all ok with them beating each other up but a remark is where you draw the line…yea ok,” another agreed.
Another onlooker said that there should also be sanctions for Spice.
“I think Spice should be suspended as well! Erica clearly went into it with good intentions and Spice provoked her! If you want to call a spade a spade, Spice threw the first jab and continues on social media and interviews,” he reasoned.
Some fans are endorsing the decision.
“It’s about time that mouth of hers finally created real consequences for her career,” said another Instagram user.
“It was for sure racially motivated idc what y’all said,” one more suggested.
Spice first appeared as a guest on LHHATL in season six, when the cast took a trip to Jamaica. In season eight, she was promoted to a main cast member.
Mena was introduced in season two, but she became a main cast member in seasons three through five, and then season ten.