'SMILF' Creator Frankie Shaw Addresses Misconduct Claims on 'Today'

Frankie Shaw-Getty-H 2019
JB Lacroix/ WireImage

SMILF creator and star Frankie Shaw on Wednesday addressed claims that she inappropriately handled the filming of sex scenes for her Showtime comedy. The actress, who also serves as showrunner, shared her take on the claims during an appearance on NBC's Today show.

"This is my first time doing this job," she told Today's Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. "We moved fast, and I was learning on the go. I'm just really grateful that I can take these lessons and be more of an aware and attuned showrunner moving forward."

As The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported in December, numerous employees made claims that Shaw inappropriately handled sex scenes and one series regular left the show, alleging breach of contract.

Rosie O'Donnell, who plays Shaw's mother on SMILF, sat alongside Shaw and defended her during their joint interview on Today. According to O'Donnell, Shaw ran a "beautiful set."

"There's a family feel on the set," O'Donnell elaborated. "The great thing about Frankie is she addressed the stuff and the network did and everybody's OK, and here we go." As THR's Kim Masters reported, O’Donnell contacted Showtime executive Amy Israel as well as executive producer Scott King to express concern about a chaotic and troubled set. Insiders told Masters that O’Donnell herself did not clash with Shaw, but the veteran performer became concerned about a number of issues, particularly Shaw’s treatment of fellow actress Samara Weaving. 

THR reported that Weaving, who has since left the show, claimed that Shaw violated her contract by turning on monitors as she was filming a sex scene even though they had agreed to a closed set. The actress, who had a no-nudity clause in her contract, also said that Shaw attempted to pressure her into filming a nude scene.

Showtime and producers ABC Studios are currently investigating the claims.

Amid the allegations, Shaw told Today that she is "really proud" of SMILF's first season. "We had approximately a 50 percent female crew," she noted. "We had almost all women directors."

Season two of SMILF premieres Sunday on Showtime.