CSI: Fact vs. Speculation (a rational approach to breaking news) UPDATED

"George Eads will take a leave of absence from the long-running drama after engaging in a heated exchange with one of the show's writers, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The actor, who has played Nick Stokes since the series premiered in 2000, will appear in the first three episodes of CSI's upcoming 14th season. Producer CBS Television Studios declined to reveal a date for his return but said he would be back later this season.
"George Eads will not appear in several episodes during the first half of the season. We look forward to him returning to CSI very soon," a rep for CBS TV Studios said in a statement to THR.
… Eads was unhappy with the creative direction of his character, sources tell THR, and clashed with an eight-months-pregnant co-writer of a recent episode. Word of the incident is said to have gotten back to showrunner Carol Mendelsohn and resulted in a meeting that ended with Eads threatening to quit. A rep for Eads declined to comment."
- via The Hollywood Reporter 

The only reason I am writing this is because, as a fan of CSI, this is relevant to my interests and I think people who know me expect me to care.  At present, however, the above is all we know.  I say that to say this: we do not know what exactly was said between George and the writer.  We theoretically know that George Eads was unhappy with the direction the show is taking his character, we theoretically know a “heated exchange” took place between him and a writer, and we know he’s now on leave from CSI.  What we don’t know is why or how or what.  To take a page from Gil Grissom’s book, we rely on evidence because it doesn’t lie and there’s precious little of that to go around.  Here’s why the addition of the fact that the writer is pregnant is bothersome: because it is seemingly irrelevant.  If it is relevant, mentioning it cryptically is shady-to-bad reporting.  But if it truly isn’t relevant and is just a detail to puff up the otherwise sparse report, it’s misguided.  What needs to happen now is nothing.  We, the fans, are braced for not seeing Nick in CSI after the third episode.  And that’s it.  We just wait until a further official statement is released from either party or he returns to work.  Full stop.

Here’s what is totally useless: speculative fiction based on the bare-bones ‘facts’ presented.  The pregnancy detail bothers me because it is alternately being used a) to reinforce the notion that women, especially pregnant ones, are delicate flowers who can’t be argued with which completely negates efforts at workplace equality and female equality full stop, and b) to pre-emptively paint George Eads as a villain who goes around yelling at pregnant women (who are, see point a, delicate flowers incapable of holding their own).  The story is not as sensational as anyone wants it to be as it stands.  It is best left alone because nothing in the speculative narrative does either women as a whole or George Eads as an individual any favors and until cold hard facts are presented we are all just shooting the shit over an actor who has a history of not unduly putting himself in the tabloid spotlight and who has been a pillar of CSI for thirteen years.

To be honest, all we really know for certain at this point is that George Eads cares a lot about his job and the integrity of his character and that character’s journey.  As presented that makes him a working hero, not a villain.

And until either more facts are in or Nick is back in the lab, this is all I will say on the subject.

 - Corinne Simpson

UPDATED AUGUST 31, 2013

 "A spokesman for Eads on Thursday confirms that the actor will miss "several episodes" of season 14 as a result of "behind-closed-doors disagreement with a CSI showrunner." The rep denies THR's report that Eads had an altercation or conversation with a pregnant writer on the series and issued the following statement: "George will definitely be returning to the show and looks forward to participating once again in something he has passionately been a part of for 14 years. He has nothing but the greatest respect for the creative and professional choices of the producers and writers that are behind CSI."
via The Hollywood Reporter

And all I really have to say about that is: SEE?  TEAM GEORGE!!

We love you, George Eads, and we love Nicky Stokes and the faster you get back to CSI the happier we'll be.  Okay, especially me - I'll be so much happier when you're back.