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‘The Rookie’ Star Afton Williamson Claims Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Assault Led to Series Exit

Updated: ABC and eOne have responded to “The Rookie” star Afton Williamson’s claims of racial discrimination, sexual assault and harassment.

“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 said in a statement. “The safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously.”

eOne echoed ABC in its own statement, saying, “We take claims of this nature very seriously. We have initiated an independent investigation which is ongoing and as such, it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.”

Williamson first brought the news to light in an Instagram post early Sunday morning, in which she outlined claims of bullying and harassment against the show’s hair department, an unnamed series guest star, and 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,” Williamson 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.”

Williamson also stated that she repeatedly reported the incidents to series creator and showrunner Alexi Hawley but Hawley never went to HR with any of her claims. She also stated that the head of the hair department was only fired after she reported the sexual assault “and NOT [sic] for an entire year of outward racism/racially charged language and bullying behavior in and out of the Hair and Makeup trailer.”

She went on to say that when she reported the sexual harassment by the guest star, she was “assured the actor would be fired.” But Williamson says that she was then asked to film with the actor the next day and that she was subsequently written into scenes with him at the end of the season.

“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.”

ABC Studios and Entertainment One (eOne), which co-produce “The Rookie,” did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment, nor did reps for Hawley or series lead Nathan Fillion. This post will be updated should they respond.

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,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” ❤️🙏🏽

A post shared by Afton Williamson (@therealaftonw) on

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