Former Gypsy Sisters star Mellie Stanley and her ex-husband were arrested for an $18,000 coupon scam last month, but TLC probably doesn’t care. The cable network canceled the controversial show back in 2015, ending years of bad press, including one cast member's arrest for animal cruelty. Read on if you can stomach the details…
What was Gypsy Sisters?
Gypsy Sisters first aired in 2013 on TLC, and documented the lives of Romanichal women living in Martinsburg, WV. The Romanichal are a subgroup of the Romani people, a traditionally itinerant ethnic group. Gypsy Sisters was also the spin-off of an earlier TLC series titled, My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. Both shows attracted criticism, with scholar Anna M. Pusca writing that they “play on similar stereotypes of young, attractive Gypsy women dreaming of getting married and becoming mothers and home-carers.”
How are the sisters related?
Mellie Stanley, Nettie Stanely, JoAnn Wells, and Dovie Carter are all biological sisters. Sheena Small is their first cousin, as are Sheila “Kayla” Williams and Angela “Annie” Malone, who are also sisters. Laura Johnston is Kayla and Annie’s sister-in-law.
Is Gypsy Sisters fake?
Whether or not storylines were manipulated remains a mystery, but Romani people have said that Gypsy Sisters and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding doesn’t accurately represent their culture. “A show like this can harm a group of people already under scrutiny, people who also have families to watch over,” Oksana Marafioti, author of American Gypsy: A Memoir, wrote in a Slate op-ed.
“Being a Romani isn’t a way of life or a cult. We aren’t Gypsy by choice or calling. No one can decide to become a Gypsy one day. We are a race of close to 10 million, with a culture that spans centuries and across continents. It is one thing to present a willing group of people in a negative light, but quite another to represent an entire race of people as a niche stereotype.”
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Mellie was arrested thursday morning in Lexington, Kentucky on a warrant. She was booked for theft by deception, criminal possession of forged instrument and unlawful access to a computer 💥 – Law enforcement tells us Mellie allegedly pulled off a massive coupon scam at "Toys R Us" and "Babies R Us". Authorities say Mellie and her husband used counterfeit coupons to purchase $18,000 worth of gear at both stores.. Both of them were hit with the same charges and are being held on $13,000 bail 👀 – It's not her first time running into trouble.. In 2014 she and her sister were reportedly busted for running a coupon scam at a Target in North Carolina. Mellie's then-husband was also arrested back in 2015 after a heated argument between the couple sadly led to Mellie's puppy being killed 😳 – Source: TMZ #breaking #gypsysisters
Why was Gypsy Sisters canceled?
TLC axed the show in July 2015 after four seasons. The party line, per TMZ, is that the network canceled the series due to declining ratings and a sense that it was “time to move on.” But, coincidentally or not, the news came right after Mellie Stanley’s husband was arrested on a felony animal cruelty charge for allegedly killing her puppy.
Unfortunately for fans, the show doesn’t appear to be available for streaming on Hulu or Netflix, but you can unlock full episodes on the TLC website with your cable TV subscription.