Viewers of Netflix‘s new reality show Bling Empire are labeling one of the show’s romantic relationships as ‘abusive,’ accusing a star of being a ‘gas lighter’ and a ‘living and breathing red flag.’
The show, which is billed as the real-life version of the hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, premiered on January 15 — and already, fans have binged the whole thing and weighed in on the plot and stars on social media.
Many Twitter critics have expressed particular concern about the relationship between Kelly Mi Li, 35, and actor Andrew Gray, 33, with some saying Netflix should have included a warning about abusive relationships with the show.
Yikes: Viewers of Netflix’s new reality show Bling Empire are labeling one of the show’s romantic relationships as ‘abusive’
Troubled: Fans are describing actor Andrew Gray as ‘toxic’ toward Kelly Mi Li
Evidence: They point to his behavior on the show, like how he screamed at Kelly for going shopping without him while he napped
Nice guy: Kelly got the phone call while out at a store and put it on speaker phone as Andrew screeched and berated her
If you say so: He insisted that she should not have left the hotel room without him
So he’s the victim now: Later, when the pair talked about the incident, he cried
The show includes several scenes documenting Kelly’s relationship with Andrew, who played the red Power Ranger in Power Rangers Megaforce from 2013 to 2014.
In the premiere episode, the couple is flown to Paris by a wealthy friend for Kelly’s birthday – where Andrew proceeded to yell at her for going shopping without him while he took a nap.
Claim to fame: Andrew starred as the red Power Ranger in Power Rangers Megaforce from 2013 to 2014
‘What the f**k is going on?’ he shouts down the phone. ‘Your lack of effort drives me f***ing crazy.’
He even told her that she could not leave the hotel without him.
To make matters worse, Kelly admits that Andrew ‘gets in these bad moods or episodes’ regularly, telling the camera: ‘Unfortunately this is not the first time Drew’s yelled at me or spoken to me this way.’
In another scene, when her friend Kevin asks what she gets out of the relationship, her reply is: ‘He doesn’t sleep around.’
On one occasion, Kelly walks out of a recording studio where Andrew is working with a friend, after he began yelling at her about her decision to discuss their relationship with her friends.
Andrew’s volatile behavior sends the couple to therapy, where Kelly eventually decides that she no longer wants to continue with the relationship – although at the end of the series she is seen returning to his house, leaving the status of their romance a mystery.
But while the reality star may have been able to forgive and forget her partner’s outbursts, viewers of the Netflix show have been left horrified by his ‘abusive’ actions.
Not OK! Viewers of the show are horrified by Andrew’s behavior, calling him ‘psycho’ and saying Kelly needs to get away from him
‘Does anyone else feel like Red Power Ranger might be psycho? He makes my skin crawl,’ wrote one.
‘Kelly is so sweet and lovely I just need her to get away from Andrew ASAP. That man is scary. The look in his eye?’ said another.
‘Ummm is Kelly okay? That Andrew guy is literally a living and breathing red flag!!!’ said one more.
Yet another said described Andrew as ‘the definition of a GAS LIGHTER!!’
Many have gone so far as to say that he demonstrates many behaviors of abusive men.
‘I’m no psychiatrist, but this red Power Ranger, Andrew Gray, on #blingempire seems like a super shady toxic con artist f***boy. When he speaks, it sounds like a lie. It seems like Kelly is an emotionally abusive relationship with him and she needs to run away from him, not walk!’ wrote one.
‘Andrew wants privacy so he can abuse Kelly in private without consequences,’ said another.
Warning! Several say that his abusive behavior is triggering and Netflix should include a warning
Uh-oh: Kelly said ‘it was just the dynamic of me and Andrew’s relationship’
‘Watching Kelly and Andrew is horrifying and I imagine triggering for a lot of ppl who have been in abusive relationships,’ added yet another.
Several have even urged Netflix to add a warning to the show for sensitive viewers.
One explained: ‘Bling Empire needs a trigger warning about abusive relationships when it comes to scenes with Kelly and Andrew. I don’t like watching reality tv and being on edge worrying about someone’s safety the whole time.’
Speaking about her relationship with Distractify after the show’s debut, Kelly said, ‘In the Asian culture, you don’t air out your dirty laundry … whatever happens at home it’s supposed to stay inside.
‘So, for us, it was just the dynamic of me and Andrew’s relationship. Most people didn’t know how difficult it was at times. People kind of see the happy moments of us when we’re out, but there’s a lot of difficult times.’
She would not, however, share whether they are still a couple.
Their Instagram accounts, though, hint that they may have officially called it quits. While they both shared plenty of photos with one another from 2015 through 2019, their last photo together does appear to be posted in 2019.
Who is Kelly Mi Li?
The 35-year-old was born in Kunming, China, but moved to Chicago when her doctor mother got a job at the University of Illinois.
She was raised by her mother after her father returned to China because he was unable to find work in the US.
In her 20s, she was married to a Chinese man and lived a life of luxury with four houses and seven cars.
‘We lived in a privileged, outrageous lifestyle,’ she explains on the show’s premiere. ‘I think at the time we were spending, like, 400k a month on our black [American Express card].’
Her world came crashing down around her when he was arrested for a crime she had no idea he had committed.
‘I didn’t know it at the time, but he was running one of the largest cyber scams in American history,’ she says on the show. ‘All of our assets were frozen, and we gave the government, I think it was, like, $168 million. Yeah. I didn’t even know who I was sleeping next to.’
She has since rebuilt her life and wealth as an entrepreneur, which has helped her ‘take power back.’ She has produced TV shows and movies in LA and is also a rising influencer with 100,000 Instagram followers.