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Actor Jason Mitchell has offered his side of his high-profile firing from Lena Waithe’s Showtime series The Chi after multiple misconduct allegations were made against him.
Actress Tiffany Boone and The Chi‘s season two showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis accused Mitchell of inappropriate behavior, despite HR’s requirement that the cast, crew and writers had to attend training sessions about what is and isn’t appropriate on set.
In addition to being fired from The Chi, Mitchell was also dropped from Netflix’s Western film Desperados.
In an interview Monday with the radio show The Breakfast Club, Mitchell offered another explanation for his exit from the Showtime series, claiming, “there actually was no situation with Tiffany” and that Boone was “put in a position” because Floyd Davis made a statement on Boone’s behalf.
The actor continued, “She had a lot to say, but she was the only person that ever made a statement at all.”
Mitchell added that he was “taken back” by the situation. “The actual reason that I got let go was because Disney saw what was going on with Desperados and they just bought Showtime, so they decided not to pick up my option,” he said. “I’ve been on the show for what was about to be three seasons. I was nominated for an award, so you know, I was asking for money and all these different sorts of things and they just weren’t down to do it.” (The Chi is produced by Fox 21, which was part of the 21st Century Fox assets acquired by Disney in a deal that closed in March of this year. Mitchell’s exit was reported in May. Showtime is owned by CBS.) Disney has not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter‘s request for comment.
The actor also said that he wasn’t able to give his side of the story before being fired. “When you’re dealing with HR, it doesn’t work like that at all,” said Mitchell. “They’ll never pop out and tell you, ‘Oh, this is what was said by that person. This is what was said by that person.’ You never get the luxury of finding out exactly how somebody felt about something.”
He then explained the “situation” between him and Floyd Davis. “What happened was my friend — God rest his soul — Young Greatness, he was killed on Oct. 17, I believe it was.” said Mitchell. “When he was shot and killed, I was torn up about it, but I was sort of using it at work because I had five scenes, right? Four of these five scenes, I’ve got to cry.”
After filming the emotional scenes, Mitchell said, Floyd Davis asked him if he was OK. He told her that he wasn’t doing great and she responded, “Well, we just want to make sure that you’re doing OK so that you don’t go home and self-medicate.”
Mitchell said in the interview that he was offended by the comment, so he told Waithe, who then reported the incident to HR. “As a result, she came back to me and pulled me to the side and was like, ‘We could’ve talked about this before the entire situation,”‘ he said. Mitchell said that he explained to Floyd Davis why he was offended and the conversation turned into a “heated discussion.”
Mitchell said that he was fired soon after the interaction. “As a result, I think she sort of felt like me and Lena tried to throw her under the bus, and I feel so bad for Lena because at the end of the day — no matter what went on — I was the person in question. Not her,” he said. “Lena has done nothing but create opportunities for us all, you know what I mean. And she wanted to put a black woman — who she felt like who could handle the situation — in charge, so it was just painful to watch. To see Lena try to save her brand from something that went on with me.”
Mitchell declined to specify what the misconduct allegations against him were, saying, “I’m all for the #MeToo movement, but I think in this situation Ayanna tried to use it as a really, really ugly weapon,” he said.
The actor added that the claims that Boone left the show because of him were “ridiculous” and that she really left because she got a better job.
Showtime declined to comment when asked about Mitchell’s claims on The Breakfast Club.
Listen to the full interview below.
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