‘THE ROOKIE’ ACTRESS QUITS, ALLEGES SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
By Erin White
August 5, 2019
Actress Afton Williamson is coming forward about the reason behind her exit from ABC’s The Rookie, and her accusations ain’t pretty. Taking to Instagram on Sunday, Williamson alleged that while working on the show, racist comments, bullying, and sexual harassment claims were largely ignored and swept under the rug. She claims that some of this behavior came from executive producers, the hair department, and a recurring guest star. This time, Williamson claims, she brought the issues to showrunner, Alexi Hawley, but her allegations were never investigated and the aforementioned guest star was able to continue appearing on the show. According to Shadow and Act, Williamson also said that the sexual harassment from the hair department escalated to sexual assault at the wrap party for season 1. In the end, the hair department head was the only one fired, while many continued to perpetuate “racism/racially charged language and bullying behavior in and out of the hair and makeup trailer.”
The following season, Williamson said she was asked not to participate in an investigation into her claims until after Season 2 was announced. With that came the reassurance that the guest actor would be fired. But by the time filming came around, she was asked to film with said actor, who hadn’t been fired after all. “I asked the showrunner about this and he admitted to me that the actor had not been fired nor had he gotten HR involved. I was asked to return this season, and promised that ‘everything was handled.’ The investigation hadn’t even begun and Season 2 had already started filming. I turned it down and I walked,” Williamson wrote on Instagram.
Post-#MeToo, it’s so alarming to continue to hear stories like this one and that of The Chi co-star Tiffany Boone, who earlier this year, alleged a culture of sexual harassment perpetrated by Jason Mitchell with no accountability by the show and network.
When asked about Williamson’s exit, Hawley told TVLine, “It’s not really my place to get into her personal decision.”
View this post on Instagram
I will not be returning for Season 2 of The Rookie. I owe it to you my amazing fans to share the Truth. Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced Racial Discrimination/Racially Charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from Executive Producers. During the Season, it continued along with Sexual Harassment from a recurring guest star and the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept. Head escalated into Sexual Assault at our Wrap party.The Sexual Harassment though reported directly to the Showrunner/EP remained undocumented and was not reported to HR as promised. The Hair Dept. Head was fired ONLY after the sexual assault and NOT for an entire year of outward racism/racially charged language and bullying behavior in and out of the Hair and Makeup trailer. HR protocol was never adhered to following the above reports given by me to my Showrunner/EP and an investigation was never issued for any of my claims. The only time I was asked to participate in an investigation was after a meeting I called in June following our Season 2 announcement. This meeting included the Showrunner and two other producers as well as my agent and SAG-AFTRA Union Rep. It was clear to all present in the meeting that the Showrunner had not shared my reports with the any of the producers. After my initial report of sexual harassment, I was assured that the actor would be fired. I was also asked to film with him the very next day as a courtesy to the script, even though we had not begun filming the episode yet. This actor reappeared on our call sheet at the end of the season, I was even written in scenes with him. I asked the Showrunner about this and he admitted to me that the actor had not been fired nor had he gotten HR involved. I was asked to return this season, and promised that “everything was handled.” The investigation hadn’t even begun and Season 2 had already started filming. I turned it down and I walked. Now is the best time in the world to be a woman and I have a platform so it’s time to use my Voice. Strength comes from within. It comes from Above. “Greater is He that is within Me than he that is in the world” ❤️🙏🏽