Warner Bros. Severs Ties With 'Extra' Host A.J. Calloway After Investigation Over Assault Claims
The host, who had been with the entertainment show for 14 years, was suspended in February as rape allegations were made against him.
Warner Bros. Television has terminated its relationship with longtime Extra host A.J. Calloway following the studio’s investigation into multiple allegations of sexual assault.
Calloway could not be reached immediately for comment on the split, which Warners described as mutual, but previously he has denied any wrongdoing. “The company has investigated the claims made into Mr. Calloway’s conduct and he and the company have mutually agreed to part ways,” a Warners rep said in a statement. It is unclear when the studio made the decision to part ways.
After 14 years at Extra, Calloway was suspended in February as The Hollywood Reporter prepared to publish a report of allegations against him, including three involving alleged rape. Accusers filed police reports in New York, New Jersey and California. The earliest account dated to 2003; the most recent was in 2013.
In a statement to THR following his suspension, Calloway's attorney, Lisa E. Davis, said, "Mr. Calloway maintains that these unsubstantiated allegations are patently false. He vehemently denies that he ever assaulted anyone and looks forward to clearing his name."
In June 2018, author and activist Sil Lai Abrams alleged that Calloway had assaulted her in 2006. (Calloway was arrested at the time, but the matter was dropped on procedural grounds.) More accusers subsequently came forward in a Jan. 4 article published by The Daily Beast.
Warners initially did not respond to a request for comment on Calloway, but the Daily Beast article prompted the studio to say it had not received any employee complaints about Calloway. (Abrams, however, had contacted Warners months earlier, in July 2018, asking whether the studio would respond to her allegations. It did not respond.)
As THR was preparing the report of rape allegations in February, however, Warner Bros. suspended Calloway and said it had already investigated whether he had engaged in misconduct on the job following THR's initial account of Abrams' claim and found no evidence of impropriety. But, given “additional allegations brought to our attention,” the company said, “we are expanding our ongoing inquiries.”
Abrams says she has repeatedly asked Warners for information regarding that investigation. In May, after a Salon article which focused on the Calloway allegations, Abrams was contacted by attorney Daphne Bishop, who had been retained by Warners to investigate.
Abrams heard nothing further until Tuesday, when she tweeted a series of questions aimed at WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey prompted by an interview he did with Variety. “Why has @WarnerMediaGrp failed to release the finding of the investigation into your employee’s history of alleged criminal sexual violence?” Abrams tweeted. “Is Mr. Calloway still a paid employee of your television division?” A couple of hours later, Abrams’ attorney, Andrew Wilson of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, was contacted by Warners in-house attorney Mike Marino with an update.
In a statement to THR, Abrams expresses relief that Warners has addressed the matter. “It shouldn’t have taken various news stories and the trickling out of six different accusations of rape and sexual assault by Mr. Calloway over a year and a half for the company to take a stand,” she says. “Had I not tweeted about Mr. Stankey, I doubt Warner Bros. would have taken the initiative to let my lawyer know the outcome of the investigation. It should not be incumbent upon survivors to force companies to do the right thing.”
She adds, “Though it took to longer than it should have, the investigation apparently came to the right conclusion. If survivors have the strength to fight, know that there is value in staying the course.”