UPDATE 8/5/19 5:34 EST
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said Monday she is withholding judgment on the fate of “The Rookie” pending an investigation into co-star Afton Williamson’s claim that she endured sexual misconduct and racism during the show’s production.
The actress posted online Sunday that she’s quitting the ABC crime drama because of what she faced, including racist comments and bullying from a crew member that escalated into sexual assault at a wrap party, and an inadequate response from the show’s executive producers.
“I’m waiting for the results of the investigation, just as you are, to get more answers,” Burke said during a Q&A session with the Television Critics Association.
She said she learned in June that the show’s producer, Entertainment One, initiated a third-party investigation of the behavior that Williamson alleged took place during the crime drama’s first season that began airing in October 2018.
Burke was asked if ABC is concerned about whether it has inadequate oversight of shows made for the network or if it can trust the investigation.
“I’m hopeful those results will be independent and trustworthy and anticipate they will be,” Burke replied. “At that time, those answers and those conclusions will help guide us about how to handle situations like this in the future and if, in fact, there has been any sort of communication breakdown.”
There’s history, under Burke’s predecessor, Channing Dungey, of responding swiftly to a trouble-plagued series. When the network was faced in 2018 with a racist tweet by “Roseanne” star Roseanne Barr, the rebooted sitcom’s production was suspended. Barr was subsequently fired and the show was reinvented as “The Conners.”
It’s premature to decide the future of “The Rookie,” Burke said. The series, with Nathan Fillion in the title role of a new police officer, is set to return for its second season Sept. 29.
A representative for Williamson didn’t respond to messages seeking further details on the actress’s claims, or whether the alleged sexual assault was reported to the police.
NEW YORK (AP) — Afton Williamson, star of the ABC crime series “The Rookie,” says she’s quitting the show because of sexual harassment and racial discrimination she experienced during the show’s first season.
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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” ❤️🙏🏽
In an Instagram post Sunday, Williamson said throughout the filming of the show’s pilot, “I experienced racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department.” She said the treatment worsened when she was sexually harassed by a recurring guest star, bullied by executive producers and ultimately was sexually assaulted by a crew member at a wrap party.
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Representatives for ABC did not respond to messages Sunday.
A representative for Williamson didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking further details on the actress’s claims, or whether the alleged sexual assault was reported to the police.
Williamson also was highly critical of how her claims were handled by showrunner and executive producer Alexi Hawley. Williamson said she filed reports on the incidents but they weren’t seriously investigated by the network or shared by Hawley with other producers.
“After my initial report of sexual harassment, I was assured that the actor would be fired,” said Williamson of the guest star. “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.”
Representatives for Hawley didn’t immediately respond to messages Sunday.
Williamson co-starred in the Los Angeles-based ABC drama, a co-production between ABC Studios and Entertainment One. In the show, Nathan Fillion stars as a rookie police officer.
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