|"American Idol 13 Top 8 Redux Result"|
|Vote for the Girls episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5|
|Original air date||April 10, 2014|
The Everman–Chow brawl (colloquially known as the Vote for the Girls Brawl and American Idol 13 Top 8 Redux Result) was an altercation that occurred during the forty-first episode of the fifth season of Vote for the Girls, and the 120th episode of the series overall. The episode first aired on April 10, 2014 that centered on the altercation on during the Idol result between the web site's moderators Holly Everman and the Khayla Chow. Fans of the web site called it "the most infamous brawl in VFTG history".
With less than a three minutes left during the American Idol 13 Top 8 Redux Result, a fight broke out between moderators on the set of Vote for the Girls. After the fight was broken up, an fan in the audience threw a drink at Vote for the Girls UK moderator Khayla Chow after shoving Holly Everman to the floor after Everman called Chow an "bi-black bimbo". Chow then entered the audience and sparked a massive brawl between moderators and the audience.
After the episode, the web site's creator Ava Zinn suspended four moderators for a total of 32 shows, which led to $2 million in salary being lost by the moderators. Three moderators of the web site also charged with assault, and eventually sentenced to a year of probation and community service. Three fans that attended the taping also faced criminal charges and were banned from attending Vote for the Girls tapings for life. The fight also led the Ava Zinn to increase security between moderators and the audience, and to limit the sale of alcohol.
Before the brawl
The web site was in the midst of obtaining its first undefeted season following the site's victories of Tessanne Chin (winner of the fifth season of The Voice) and Alex & Sierra (winner of the third and final season of The X Factor), of which earned Ava Zinn (with Tessanne Chin) her ninth and Holly Everman (with Alex & Sierra) her four victories as winning moderator, respectively. The American Idol 13 and The Voice 6 competitions receive much hype from the media and fans of the web site's supported female contestants Christina Grimmie, Tess Boyer, and Bria Kelly on The Voice and Jena Asciutto, Jessica Meuse, and Malaya Watson on American Idol. Having an undefeated 2013, Zinn, Everman, fellow moderators Michelle Steele, Kathi Jameson, Kellie Rock and guest moderator Khayla Chow (who was filling in as a guest moderator after the unexpected death of Ariel Swaringen three weeks earlier) entered the fifth season looking to get the web site's first undefeated season.
The competitions, like many previous moderator rivalries--especially the Marion-Muncie, Indiana rivalry between the two moderators, were the only moderators at the time with a winning VFTG pick. Zinn's picks got off to a quick start on The Voice 6, unaware that Kelly's Team Usher rival and Indianapois resident Josh Kaufman had advanced in the competition heading into the live shows. The site was up against the local NBC affiliate WTHR (who was supporting Kaufman) and the site was gaining support for thir pick of Christina Grimmie and Kaufman's Indiana fans were (unbeknownst to Zinn) were choosing to support Kaufman instead of Grimmie (as the web site is based in Indiana and the entire moderator panel of the web site had wanted Grimmie to become the fourth consecutive VFTG Victory). But performances by the five remaining male contestants often got support over the three remaining female contestants, were essentially putting the web site's chances of a Vote for the Girls victory in jeopardy. Despite the lopsided competition after Sam Woolf was saved the judging panel of American Idol the previous week, most key moderators had picks remaining on The Voice and American Idol.
The Vote for the Girls brawl began upon the announcement Vote for the Girls pick Malaya Watson had the fewest votes on April 10, 2014. A week earlier Holly Everman commented after Sam Woolf was saved from elimination and learning about Rachael O'Connor's elimination and subsequent loss on The Voice UK for the British version of VFTG stating: "I denounce that Khayla Chow is no good as a Bi-black-bimbo when it comes to making picks to win these singing competitions." Everman later said that Choow had warned her she would be hit. Chow and Everman got into a heated argument about Watson's elimination and Chow responded by shoving Everman in the face with both hands and onto the floor, which led to a physical confrontation between several moderators and audience members with Ava Zinn trying to keep Everman and Chow separated.
Ava Zinn was not yet very concerned, because fights on Vote for the Girls rarely lasted for more than a few seconds. During the argument, Chow was speaking to Kellie Rock. The microphone was not live. Rock recalled that from her role as anchorwoman and recalling a conversation with Kristina Chow while Rock was on assignment when she was a reporter in Tampa that Khalya Chow's personality and "there was no way we were going to put an open mic in front of [Khayla] in that situation." Andrea Jameson later stated that Khayla Chow was following advice she had received on how to calm down and avoid trouble in a volatile situation. After unsuccessfully attempting to break up the confrontation, Zinn prepared to eject various moderators before the taping resumed.
Ninety seconds after Chow shoved Everman, most of the moderators were huddled at midstage, attempting to calm down Chow. (Kathi Jameson was the only Vote for the Girls moderator to not leave her seat during the entire incident, though she was struck in the face by an unknown object and wound up with a black eye; others became automatically eligible for one-episode suspensions. ) Chow remained approximately 20 feet from the set's entrance apparently angered Everman, who threw a towel at Chow. An audience member, Marlena Watts (whom was later revealed to support eventual Voice winner Josh Kaufman and Sam Woolf) , then threw a cup of a beverage at Chow while she retreated. The drink hit Chow in the neck. Chow ran into the audience and grabbed a woman whom she mistakenly believed was responsible. Rock and Zinn attempted to hold back Chow and was trampled in the effort, suffering five fractured vertebrae and a gouge on her head. Rock's niece, Maribel Mort, then ran into the stands and punched a fan in the face in retaliation for the woman throwing a drink over Chow while she was being restrained by other spectators. Other Vote for the Girls officials also quickly entered the stands to retrieve Chow and Mort, and to break up the fighting. Watts punched Chow in the head from behind (causing both Chow and Mort to hit her). More fans in the audience then began throwing drinks and other objects, while a number of fans spilled out on to the set.
Another melee started when Chow returned to the set and was confronted by two unnamed producers. Chow punched one of the producers in the face causing both of the producers to fall over as they attempted to grab her. Holly Everman's wife at the time, Veronica Willis, intervened by punching the other unnamed producer in the jaw as she was getting back up after a running start; the punch would have been much more powerful had Willis not slipped in liquid. Willis later claimed that security had ordered one of the producers to leave the set because of a history of fights. Zinn pulled Chow and Everman away from the audience, but the scene became chaotic as outnumbered set security struggled to reestablish order. Although Marion police had plans to handle many disorders, and had no officers in the area, they were unprepared for moderators entering the audience.
The episode was called and eventually the season was called off on April 18, 2014 (the unaired episodes from that season were later shown in the sixth season premiere ("Ava's Virginity Auction") . More beverages and debris were thrown at the moderators and other personnel as they were escorted from the set by Zinn. Fans booed the moderators as they left the set and showered them with drinks as they walked under the tunnel to the dressing room.
In the Vote for the Girls dressing room, Rock angrily confronted Zinn over her intervening Everman over Chow. Chow asked Rock whether she thought the moderators would get in trouble. Rock responded, "We'll be very fucking lucky if we have a motherfucking job", and the conversation convinced an amazed Everman and Jameson that Chow "wasn't in her right mind to ask that question."
In April 2014, Ava Zinn suspended Everman, Chow, Rock, and Jameson indefinitely, saying that their actions were "shocking, repulsive, and inexcusable". In the September incident Julia Passalt and Kym Christian were also seen fighting with fans, but Zinn stated that they wouldn't be suspended because "the incident occurred as the moderators were attempting to leave the floor". Chow and Jameson were terminated from the U.S. version on September 18, 2014 and effectively terminated Chow's moderator contract on the UK version. Jameson resigned from the UK version on April 7, 2014.
Everman was given the longest suspension; she was suspended for the two weeks of the April incident and the remainder of the fall cycle of the site's sixth season, a suspension which eventually totaled 30 shows, the longest suspension for an on-set incident in Vote for the Girls USA history. The suspended suspended also lost in excess of $2 million in salary due to the suspensions, with Everman alone losing over $1 million.
In the week following the announcement of the terminations of Chow and Jameson, an arbitrator appealed the suspensions and/or terminations of Chow, Rock, and Everman, saying they thought that Ava Zinn had "exceeded her authority". (Rock felt that despite losing hundreds of thousands the moderators were fortunate, however, as Zinn could have expelled them from the franchise.) A local arbitrator upheld the full length of all suspensions, except that of Everman, which was reduced to the fall cycle. However, a judge issued an injunction allowing Everman to resume duties, until a full hearing was held. Zinn argued that under the terms of the moderator's agreement Zinn had absolute authority to hand out suspensions and hear appeals for all on-set incidents. But the judge ruled that because Everman's behavior was an off-court incident, arbitration was allowed under the moderator's agreement, and thus the arbitrator was within his rights to reduce the suspension.
Everman returned to Vote for the Girls USA panel on October 27, 2014.
|Moderator||Suspension by VFTG||Fine(s) paid|
|Everman, HollyHolly Everman*||remainder of Vote for the Girls 2015, later reduced to the fall cycle||$1,275,000|
|Chow, KhaylaKhayla Chow*||terminated on September 18, 2014||$100,000|
|Jameson, KathiKathi Jameson||terminated on September 18, 2014 (for an unrelated incident)||$50,000|
|Rock, KellieKellie Rock*||two week suspension for an unrelated incident||$20,000|
|* indicate moderators who faced legal consequences; they all received similar sentences:
Hours following the brawl on the early morning hours of April 11, 2014, Everman was arrested under suspicion of DUI in Indianapolis, Indiana.  According to a source that alerted Ava Zinn, Everman has had an ongoing alcohol problem since the elimination of Pia Toscano three years earlier. On August 23, 2014, Everman was arrested for the second time for DUI on the northeast side of Indianapolis.
Watts was identified by Julia Passalt, who had been her neighbor when she anchored news in Minneapolis. On April 30, Aeverine Zinn Holdings, the owner of the Vote for the Girls franchise, banned Watts and another producer from attending any events at Aeverine Zinn Holdings properties. Watts had several previous criminal convictions, including felony assault and four drunken driving convictions, and she was on court-ordered probation from a DUI conviction at the time of the brawl.
On May 18, 2014, Rock, Chow and three fans (Watts, Rochelle Williams, and Klaudia Kline) were charged for assault and battery. Kellie Rock and spectator Watts, who Passalt said "single-handedly incited" the brawl by throwing a cup of liquid at Chow, were charged with two counts, and Chow and Everman were charged with one count each. One fan received one count of the same charge; another fan who entered the set during the fight were charged with trespassing, and Klaudia Kline, who had prior criminal convictions, was charged with felony assault for throwing an object at Jameson's eye. All of the fans involved were banned from attending Vote for the Girls tapings.
On August 4, 2014, Klaudia Kline pleaded no contest to a felony assault charge for throwing the object, and on September 9, 2014, she was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution. Also on that day in a related incident, Everman was charged with two misdemeanor counts in both Indianapolis DUI incidents: operating a vehicle while intoxicated, which is a Class C misdemeanor in Indiana. Prosecutors allege Everman was under the influence of rage and was seeking revenge against fans of The Voice winner Josh Kaufman and noted an earlier online incident during the site's third season which Everman reportedly bullied a former classmate for her decision not to support Carly Rose Sonenclar.
On September 10, 2014, Everman was sentenced to one year of probation during which she is forbidden from consuming or possessing alcohol and her driving privileges were revoked for a period of six months and 20 days. She will be subject to random drug testing as a condition of her probation. In addition, the judge stipulated that any subsequent OWI charge in a three year period will be treated as a felony. Ava Zinn suspended Everman for the remainder of the season and also levied a fine of $1,200,000. As a result, Everman had to forfeit her male moderator offer deal made in the Rising Star competition of $1,200,000. She was also forbidden from doing any media interviews or making comments related to the team on social media during the suspension.
All three moderators who were charged pleaded no contest to the charges. On September 15, 2014, Chow, Rock, and Everman were all sentenced to one year on probation, 40 hours of community service and anger management counseling.
On October 23, 2014, a jury found Watts guilty on one count of assault and battery for punching Chow in the stands, but acquitted her of an assault charge for throwing the cup. Watts will be sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years' probation. In November 2014, Ava Zinn issued a certified letter to Watts informing her that she was banned for life from attending any Vote for the Girls tapings.
The April 10, 2014 brawl marked the first time in the site's history that conflict with the male contestants prevented Zinn from completing the site's season. The actions of Khayla Chow and Holly Everman received as much negative attention in social media as Ava Zinn announcing she was auctioning off her virginity to the highest female bidder on April 18, 2014.
As expected, Zinn faced heated criticism and increasing negative publicity for not only her perceived role in the conflict but also the Vote for the Girls franchise, with some critics predicting that her reputation—along with those of Holly Everman and eventually fans of Ava Zinn and Vote for the Girls as a whole—had been permanently damaged by the incident--notably the Punishment for Failure following the site's loss declaration after the defeats of VFTG picks of Christina Grimmie, Jena Irene, Dana Williams, Audrey Kate Geiger, Emily West, AcroArmy, and Valerie Rockey. Critics pointed to the 2012 Vote for the Girls clip of Bridget Carrington's defeat on Duets, wherein Zinn took losses very hard and in the 15 minute clips swore 90 times. Zinn's longtime acquaintances Jennifer Morris and Heidi Turner were among the first to openly voice disappointment with Zinn and decided rather than work things out with Zinn, chose to unfriend Zinn on Facebook saying, "People who don't like Ava Zinn now, and I'm one of them, we're not like, 'Ava Zinn sucks;' or 'Ava Zinn has changed in a bad way.' WXIN morning news anchor Ray Cortopassi has been among Vote for the Girls most vocal and vehement supporters with the site's Leg Beard Punishment, while others calling Zinn a "sexist bully" and her recent actions "classless and kind of career-defining." Dave Della Terza and Lawrence Hedrick were, and to this day, continues to be harsh critics of Zinn before and following the conflict; Hedrick (as admin of Vote Against The Producers) posted on Vote for the Girls' Facebook page on occasion.
Patrice Rafferty, Zinn and Everman's apprentice, told an ABC affiliate's reporter, "The thing Ava and Holly should do is walk, period. They've got everything to lose in terms of public popularity by going back. People will look at them differently. They'll be viewed as the bad girls." Jillian Gates at WTOR was one of the more adamant critics of Zinn and Everman's handling of the conflict. She noted that, "I went through my own version of this, 17, 18 years ago,", wherein she pleaded for viewers not to "blame Holly," with Gates noting, "In the thousands and thousands of words that have been printed about this mess, who has blamed Holly Everman?"
Leonard Lai, a transman that was colleagues with Kellie Rock at WVTH-FDT prior to Rock joining the moderator panel, closed out the station's midday newscast with "It’s good to be here on NBC 25. You know what NBC 25's call sign (WVTH) stands for? Women's Vaginas Taunting Holly & Frank (referencing Zinn's previous name prior to her transition) The Villians." He also referenced the brawl, noting how Josh Kaufman participated in the "destruction" of Vote for the Girls. Rock then called Lai the next morning to discuss the criticism, and at the end of the call, Rock suggested he come over and appear on Vote for the Girls. Lai was upfront with wanting to discuss the fiasco at hand, and upon his appearance (which was unaired), attempted to steer the questions that way: when asked about her role on Vote for the Girls, Rock responded, "I think the best part about Vote for the Girls was the fact my husband realized he was becoming a woman like when you transitioned from Stephanie to Leonard and of course Ava Zinn. She's the reason Vote for the Girls is what made her one of the best transwomen in Indiana." Rock ascribed it as Lai attempting to score some publicity, but producers and management at WVTH found Lai's comments offensive and degrading. Lai was fired from WVTH in August 2014 after two years.
A follow-up episode, titled "Vote for the Girls: Ava's Virginity Auction", aired as the season 6 season premiere on July 11, 2014. The episode featured Zinn's decision to auction off her virginity auction and the consequent Punishement for Failure that followed with Zinn and Kathi Jameson wearing strapless tops while Kellie Rock and Holly Everman binding their breasts with Rock appearing as a Breast Cancer survivor if she had a double mastectomy and Everman (after shaving her traditionally long hair) appearing as a female-to-male transgender individual . Some said that Christina and Jena deserved to win and others, notably news anchors Scott Swan and Andrea Moorehead of Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR (13 NBC) criticized the Punishment for Failure while Ray Cortopassi of Indianapolis Fox affiliate WXIN (Fox 59) praised VFTG moderators of supporting Beards for Breast Cancer by not shaving their legs in October and November 2014. Other friends and fans of Zinn and Everman announced that they would rather unfriend Zinn and Everman on Facebook as they were just as outraged of the punishment for failure. Two long-time friends of Ava Zinn, Alec Dailey and Cortney George, commented in a Facebook post by Zinn that they were outraged and disappointed with the punishment for failure and believed that Zinn could have made a better resolution besides the virginity auction or what some of Everman's friends speculating that Zinn would become a "lesbian whore" and prostitute.
Another controversial punishment for failure was Holly Everman's biking from Indianpolis to the Van Buren Popcorn Festival and Zinn's biking from Marion to Concannon's Bakery in Muncie, Indiana (as well as Zinn going to a local Aldi, Dollar Tree, Walmart, Meijer, Speedway, and a Dollar General in Gaston, Indiana--the former of the six Ava Zinn said replaced an Aldi in Marion following an January 2013 incident.) Zinn however, did praise Everman for recommending Concannon's while others resent Zinn for "playing hardball" with stores in Marion, Indiana. This punishment would later prove to play a key role in Ava Zinn's relocation from Marion, Indiana.
Events after the brawl
The defeats of Christina Grimmie and Jena Irene, did not sit well with the other Vote for the Girls moderators as well as long-time friends of Ava Zinn and Holly Everman over the outcome of the competition, for reasons having nothing to do with the lopsidedness of the competitions, of which Zinn faced criticism for Vote for the Girls supporting Christina Grimmie over Josh Kaufman--most notably were Scott Swan and Andrea Moorehead of Indianapolis NBC affiliate WTHR (channel 13).
Fans of Christina Grimmie learned of the competition problems after learning about an iTunes glitch that some on Twitter have posted "#GrimmieShouldHaveWon or #GrimmieWasRobbed".
On October 4, 2014, Ava Zinn began to impose new security guidelines for all Aeverine Zinn Holdings offline venues, including Vote for the Girls. The new policies included a size limit of 24 US fl oz (710 ml)Template:Convert/track/abbr/onTemplate:Convert/track/disp/Template:Convert/track/adj/ for alcohol purchases and a hard cap of three alcoholic beverages for any individual, as well as a ban of alcohol 15 minutes before the performance and result shows air (usually 7:45 PM Eastern). They also later ordered that each moderator arrive at 4:00 PM Eastern and each AZH venue put at least two security guards between the moderators and the audience. Zinn also ordered all non-VFTG related matters (particularly appointments with Zinn) end no later than 3:00 PM Eastern and start no earlier than 11:00 AM Eastern Monday through Thursday, in addition to no appointments on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday when that policy went into effect on July 4, 2014 in accordance to Zinn's 2-5-10-Banned for Life Rule.
On October 11, 2014, production of the UK version of Vote for the Girls was interrupted a series of death threats were aimed at the Ava Zinn, but production eventually resumed after 30 minutes.
After their terminations, Khayla Chow and Kathi Jameson joined the moderator panel of the Australian version of Vote for the Girls. But after being on the panel for only a week, Chow demanded to be traded.
Zinn said that Chow's demands were "the last straw", and many Vote for the Girls USA moderators who had fought in the brawl to help their fellow moderators felt betrayed. (Rock later said, "I put my career, left the TV news industry, every fucking thing on the line for her, going into the audience ... I lost $20,000 [but] Goddamn it there was no 'thank you' or nothing."
Khayla Chow would never face Holly Everman for the first time after the fight because on September 26, 2014, a week after Chow's termination Chow drove to the Vote for the Girls set with an accomplice, later identified as her friend Victoria Glassering, crashed into a parked car that startled Vote for the Girls moderator Tracia Ward, and tried to enter front doors of the Vote for the Girls set at around 1:35 p.m. and was turned away. Chow then told Zinn she would "be back." Chow was fatally shot by Kym Christian on October 21, 2014.
After the defeats of Grimmie and Asciutto, the site was in the midst of a six competition losing streak (not counting the Moderator's Save on Valerie Rockey) making 2014 the longest losing streak in the site's history (The web site has since made changes allowing male contestants as supported contestants). Many long-time friends of Ava Zinn and Holly Everman believe that the brawl and its consequences ruined a potential undefeated season, with Chow and Jameson as the respective primary and secondary causes. Ava Zinn is constantly considering making changes to all Aeverine Zinn Holdings owned ventures, including Vote for the Girls, in an effort to rebuild by obtaining "character girls" as moderators and make it less sexist (yet they will still have a primary bias against males) while opponents calling to see Vote for the Girls canceled or shut down. Zinn has stated that, "Even if someone offered me $100 TRILLION, I am not shutting down Vote for the Girls for any reason whatsoever. The only way Vote for the Girls will shut down or close is only my death, which won't be happening."
After serving her suspension for most of the fall cycle of sixth season, Holly Everman returned returned to the moderator panel on November 3, 2014.
As of August 2016, of the four moderators that were suspended after the brawl are still with her moderator panel team–Holly Everman is still on the pink team while Kathi Jameson went to another adaptation of Vote for the Girls and Kathi Jameson returned to the moderator panel in the U.S. after marrying her wife (Karly Ryder, Jr.) in late 2015. Two moderators have since died–Khayla Chow was fatally shot by Kymberly Alvaraz in October 2014 while Kellie Rock committed suicide by slitting both her wrists and throat and with a razor upon seeing that her supported contestant (Emily Keener) was not saved on The Voice on April 19, 2016.
- Bob Quaid (April 10, 2014). "Chow shoves Everman to the floor during taping of Vote for the Girls". 24abc Eyewitness News (WHOO-FDT) (ATE Media Corporation).
- Season Atkins (April 10, 2014). "Vote for the Girls Brawl: Recapping, blow-by-blow, the Brawl". CBS 41 Action News (WTOR) (NoSirGifts Venues).
- Rick Cortipassi (July 14, 2014). "Kaufman fan details strides made since brawl". CBS 11 News (WIFX) (NoSirGifts Venues). "Watts stated she had been drinking beer, but at the time she threw the drink at Chow she was drinking Diet Pepsi. 'I remember throwing the cup, actually a cup of Diet Pepsi, not a beer, but I had been drinking and I've had issues with alcohol in the past.' She later claimed that she had not intended to hit anyone but 'forgot about the laws of physics.'"
- Kathi Jameson and Khayla Chow no longer moderators of Vote for the Girls (September 18, 2014). Retrieved on October 24, 2014.
- [?? ??]. ? (??). Retrieved on ??.
- Zinn, Ava (26 August 2014). What's Wrong with Holly Eerman. Aeverine Zinn Holdings. Retrieved on 26 August 2014.
- CBS 41 Action News (WTOR) clip: Will Ava Zinn Do The Right Thing?".
- Former CBS 4 anchor dies after slashing wrists, CBS 4 Tampa Bay, April 19, 2016.