'Blue Bloods' actress Jennifer Esposito suspended
In what is probably the first and only instance in TV history where an actor and network have gone head to head over celiac disease, CBS has temporarily dropped Jennifer Esposito from "Blue Bloods," after she sought a reduced work schedule due to the ailment.
The veteran actress and Staten Island native -- who plays cop Jackie Curatola on the series, which is shot in New York -- accused the network in a series of weekend tweets of "absolutely shameful behavior."
She said CBS had placed her "on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doctor said you needed a reduced schedule due to Celiac."
Celiac is a serious autoimmune response related to eating gluten, found in various grains.
Esposito, who has a website largely devoted to a gluten-free lifestyle, said she had requested the reduced work schedule after collapsing on the set a couple of months ago.
But, she said, "CBS implied that I was NOT truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise!"
There were reports Monday that Esposito had sought to reopen negotiations on a new contract and that CBS rejected those. Esposito's manager declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for CBS Studios.
The spokeswoman did refer to a statement released over the weekend that, "Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work on a very limited part-time schedule. As a result, she's unable to perform the demands of her role and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence."
Esposito's last episode airs Nov. 2. The show will replace her with guest actresses until she returns.