Actress Won't Be Returning to Her Lead TV Role

Afton Williamson says she experienced sexual harassment, racial discrimination
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2019 2:13 AM CDT
The Rookie Star Abruptly Quits Show
This file photo shows Afton Williamson attending the PaleyFest Fall TV Previews of "The Rookie" at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

An actress is leaving her lead role on ABC's The Rookie, and she says sexual harassment and racial discrimination are to blame. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Afton Williamson announced Sunday on Instagram that she would not be returning to the cop drama, where she starred as training officer Talia Bishop opposite titular "rookie" Nathan Fillion, for its second season. She says the "inappropriate comments" started with the hair department, along with "bullying" from executive producers, during the pilot; the behavior continued throughout the season, along with sexual harassment "from a recurring guest star." She continues, "the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept. Head escalated into Sexual Assault at our Wrap party."

She says the harassment was reported to the showrunner, but was neither documented nor reported to the human resources department as she was told it would be. She adds that the head of the hair department was ultimately terminated, but only after the sexual assault, and that though she was promised the recurring guest star would be fired, he was not, and she continued to be written into the same scenes as him. When she was asked to return for the second season, she says, an investigation hadn't even been started into her allegations. "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." Production studio eOne tells TVLine it is investigating Williamson's allegations and ABC says it is taking the matter "very seriously." Showrunner Alexi Hawley declined to discuss Williamson's "personal decision." (More sexual harassment stories.)

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