Jason Priestley Reacts to Jessica Alba's Claim About 90210 Eye Contact Rule

After Jessica Alba claimed she was not allowed to make eye contact with the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 while she guest starred on the show, Jason Priestley has weighed in.

By Samantha Schnurr Oct 06, 2020 6:05 PMTags

When it comes to Jessica Alba's recent claim about a stipulation on the Beverly Hills, 90210 set, don't look at Jason Priestley

During her recent appearance on First We Feast's "Hot Ones," the actress said that she "couldn't even make eye contact with any of the cast members" on set during her two-episode stint as a guest star on Beverly Hills, 90210 back in 1998. 

"Which was really strange when you're, like, trying to do a scene with them," the star noted. "It was like, ‘You're not allowed to make eye contact with any one of the cast members or you'll be thrown off the set.'"

Some of the series' biggest names have since commented on Alba's claim, including Priestley, who famously played Brandon Walsh on the show. The actor was simply puzzled. "'Don't look at the stars of the show' was never an edict that came down on our show. I don't know who told Jessica Alba not to look at us," the actor said on Oct. 6 during an interview on KiSS 92.5's The Roz & Mocha Show. "We never thought we were MC Hammer."

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As for whether someone preemptively gave Alba that instruction without the cast knowing given how famous they were at the time, Priestley wouldn't count it out entirely. "There is a very slight possibility that someone…," he said before adding, "I mean, apparently somebody did because they thought that maybe that was the thing to do."
"I don't know what Jessica Alba's experience was coming on our show as a guest star," he reiterated. "I know that certainly…I never would have made her feel that way."

Given his own experiences as a guest star, Priestley made an effort to include temporary additions on 90210. "I always went out of my way to make sure that our guests always felt incredibly welcomed and I would always go and talk to them and make sure they knew this was a place where we wanted them to succeed," he said. 

However, he also didn't think they actually worked together while she had a role. "She was in a storyline that I had nothing to do with," he said. Nevertheless, "I'm sorry that that happened to her," Priestley said. "It seems really incongruous with everything else that happened on our show, so I don't know what her experience was."

Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling also commented on Alba's remarks during their new joint podcast, 9021OMG, though Garth's memory was not helpful. "If anybody was, you know, didn't want to have their eyes looked into, it would have been me," the actress said, considering she shared most of the scenes with Alba. "But, I don't remember because I have the world's worst memory." 

Meanwhile, Spelling wondered if there was some "memo that was, like, going around from the producers or the ADs and we didn't even know." They do, however, remember Alba as a great young actress. 

"I only have, from the vague memories I have of working with her, I only remember her being super talented," Garth said. "She was very young. She was really sweet, and it does not surprise me that she's gone on to be so successful."