The Rookie actress Afton Williamson has announced that she was forced to leave the ABC series after complaints of racial discrimination, sexual harassment and even assault went unanswered while filming the whole first season of the show.
The actress brought the news to light in an Instagram post on Sunday, specifically naming the show’s hair department, an unnamed series guest star, and executive producers for bullying and harassment.
“Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced Racial Discrimination/Racially Charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from Executive Producers,” Williamson wrote in the post. “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.”
Williamson says that she made repeated complaints to series creator and showrunner, Alexi Hawley, but says he never carried her allegations to Human Resources.
She also noted that action was only taken with the hair department head about the alleged sexual assault, but emphasized that an “entire year of outward racism/racially charged language and bullying behavior in and out of the Hair and Makeup trailer,” went ignored.
The actress even claims she was forced to work with her sexual harasser, an unnamed guest star, despite reporting his harassment.
“I asked the Showrunner about this and he admitted to me that the actor had not been fired nor had he gotten HR involved,” she wrote. “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.”
Both ABC Studios and eOne, the show’s co-producing partner, have come out with statements confirming that they are currently investigating Williamson’s claims.
“The allegations involve a production from Entertainment One. In late June, eOne made us aware and informed us that they launched an investigation that is ongoing,” a spokesperson for ABC told Variety. “The safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously.”
Inspired by a true story, The Rookie follows John Nolan, the oldest rookie in the LAPD. At an age where most are at the peak of their career, Nolan cast aside his comfortable, small-town life and moved to L.A. to pursue his dream of being a cop.
Williamson played Talia Bishop, a newly promoted training officer whose first assignment is to train Fillion’s character, the forty-year-old rookie.