Afton Williamson announced Sunday she won’t be returning for the second season of ABC police drama The Rookie because of “sexual harassment” and “racial discrimination” on the set.
Williamson went public with her complaints in a lengthy Instagram post, saying she wanted to “share the truth” with fans. The actress alleged she experienced inappropriate comments from the hair department and was bullied by executive producers.
“Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from executive producers,” she wrote. “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 Rookie co-stars former Castle actor Nathan Fillion, along with Alyssa Diaz, Richard T. Jones, Mercedes Mason, Melissa O’Neil, and Eric Winter. The series was created by Alexi Hawley, who also serves as showrunner and executive producer.
In her post, Williamson accused Hawley of not sharing her complaints with human resources.
“The sexual harassment though reported directly to the Showrunner/EP remained undocumented and was not reported to HR as promised,” she said. “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.”
Later in her statement, Williamson said she was asked to return for the show’s second season, but passed.
“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,” she added.
ABC and producer Entertainment One later responded in a statement to TV Line, which was one of the first outlets to report on Williamson’s exit.
“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. The safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously,” ABC Studios said.
Entertainment One added that there’s an “independent investigation” underway.
Read Williamson’s full Instagram post below.
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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,Demetrius Grosse,and the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept.Head, Sally Ciganovich 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.Ciganovich 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 Grosse 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. Grosse 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 Grosse 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” ❤️🙏🏽