March 05, 2012 1:18pm PT by Alex Ben Block
'Desperate Housewives' Trial: Nicollette Sheridan Describes Fear of ABC Retaliation
Nicollette Sheridan completed her testimony Monday morning in her $6 million lawsuit against Desperate Housewives producer Marc Cherry and ABC.
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Sheridan said that when she received a letter telling her that an investigation by the human resources department of ABC had found that no action was needed in regards to her complaint about being hit in the head by Cherry, she was unhappy about what she read.
“I thought it was an appalling, outrageous lie,” she told the court.
However, Sheridan said she took no further action and did not complain formally to the network about their decision.
Sheridan also said that during a sexual harassment training session about a month after the incident, she chose not to tell the trainer what had occurred with Cherry. "Quite frankly I was afraid of being retaliated against,” testified Sheridan. “I wasn’t sure what the HR department or what any HR department really was.”
Sheridan teared up at one point on the stand when asked to read a note she had received from another producer on the show praising her for the way she had handled herself in a read-through of a script in her last season.
Under re-direct examination, Sheridan testified that a letter she had sent to a California agency calling the incident with Cherry “a slap across the face" was incorrect. She said she had called her lawyer and had the letter changed to reflect that she had been hit in the head instead. The testimony was designed to refute Sheridan's admission during cross-examination that she initially referred to the altercation as a "slap."
Sheridan's lawyer also asked her discuss her testimony from last week that she was entered as a supporting actress in the Golden Globe awards while other lead actresses were in the best actress category. He had her explain that later on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes, told her she could no longer be in that category and that going forward she would have to be considered a lead actress.
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The distinction is important because ABC and Cherry claim Sheridan was never a lead actress on the show and thus it wasn't a surprise that she was killed off in season 5. Sheridan said she was in the supporting category as part of a strategy by the show to avoid having her compete with the other lead actresses on the show.
Her attorney also asked her to clarify that when she went to Tiffany’s and then out to dinner after the incident with Cherry, it was not a shopping trip. She had gone to Tiffany in Beverly Hills to meet a close girlfriend with whom she then went to dinner.