ABC's 'The Rookie' Star Quits, Claims She Faced Sexual Harassment, Racial Discrimination

Afton Williamson on Sunday announced she would not be returning to the drama starring Nathan Fillion.
ABC/The Rookie
Afton Williamson on 'The Rookie'

The Rookie actress Afton Williamson will not be returning to the ABC drama starring Nathan Fillion amid claims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

The actress, who co-starred on the cop drama from showrunner Alexi Hawley (Castle), ABC Studios and Entertainment One, on Sunday announced her departure from the show in a lengthy post on her verified Instagram account.

Williamson (Banshee, The Night Of) claims she experienced racial discrimination and racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department as well as from the drama's executive producers starting with the pilot and continuing throughout the show's first season. What's more, the actress says the harassment was reported to Hawley and the showrunner never passed it along to human resources. Her issues escalated into sexual assault during The Rookie's wrap party, she said.

Sources say Entertainment One — the lead studio on The Rookie — launched and has an ongoing investigation into Williamson's claims. It's unclear if the investigation was opened before or after Williamson departed the show. News of her departure hit the press July 26 and sources say she made the decision to not return for season two a few days before that.

"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," an ABC spokesperson said in a statement.

"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," eOne said in a statement of its own late Sunday afternoon.

ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke is set to meet reporters Monday during the network's time at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.

Reps for showrunner Hawley did not respond to THR's request for comment.

The Rookie was picked up straight to series and renewed for a second season. Fillion — who plays a rookie cop within the LAPD — stars alongside Alyssa Diaz, Richard T. Jones, Mercedes Mason, Melissa O'Neil and Eric Winter. Key recurring players from season one included Mircea Monroe, Danny Nucci, Demetrius Grosse, David DeSantos, Currie Graham, Michael Beach, Shawn Ashmore, Cameron J. Armstrong, Sarah Shahi and Sara Rue.

Williamson's full post is below.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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 and the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept. Head 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. 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. 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 the actor 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. This actor 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 actor 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" ❤️