The never-ending Lethal Weapon saga continues. Nearly four months after being fired from Fox’s reboot, Clayne Crawford is speaking out about what he deems “blatant f—king lies” regarding his on-set behavior.
On the Drinkin’ Bros podcast, Crawford details his “my side” of the story regarding two on-set incidents, including an infamous outburst that was said to have taken place while filming near a public pool in Los Angeles. In a video first acquired by Variety, Crawford can be heard using explicit language while reprimanding the assistant director for the noise level.
“I knew that they had those tapes, and they had been blackmailing me with that… anytime I had a problem with [Damon Wayans],” Crawford explains. Those problems allegedly included Wayans’ refusal to attend table reads or shoot at certain locations, including a church. “When the incident happened, I had to pay half of my salary for that episode, I had to spend six weeks in anger management every day on my lunch break, and I had to be escorted to and from set by a security guard, so it was humiliating.”
Crawford goes on to say that any talk of him personally yelling at children at a nearby pool that day is a “blatant f—king lie… Clearly I’m yelling at the guy whose job it is to get the set quiet,” he says. “And here’s the thing: Did I make a poor choice? Absolutely, and I felt embarrassed in the moment because I was belligerent… We’d been shooting a three-page scene for eight hours, OK? We were so behind, and we continued to try and shoot through all of this noise… We stopped production over seven times. I called my agent, we were writing emails, we were phoning everyone we could to try and help us resolve the situation. No one would come in, no one would help us… So I shot all of my coverage in between the sounds.”
Crawford also says he was not aware that there was a second on-set recording, during which he calls Wayans a “p—y,” and Wayans can be heard using equally profane language in response. “I did not expect that tape to come out,” Crawford says. “That was the episode I was directing… On Damon’s first or second day… he called in sick, which, he never called in sick. [He] comes back to work the next day and he’s shooting hoops. And I was like, ‘Are you feeling better?’ and he was like, ‘Come on, bro. Everybody needed a day off.'”
Crawford also maintains that he never received a phone call from Warner Bros. telling him that he was fired. His last conversation with studio president Peter Roth came after word first broke of on-set tensions. “He said, ‘Clayne, I can’t promise you that I can save your job, but what I can tell you is that you have to make a public announcement apologizing, publicly, to Damon Wayans,'” Crawford says. “I was like, “What the fu—? Peter, why would I apologize publicly because he and I had a riff on set?’ And he’s like, ‘Clayne, that statement alone tells me you don’t want to come back… If I were you, I’d look your children in the eyes, and I’d look your wife in the eyes, and you need to make a decision.'”
One actor who has worked opposite Crawford tells TVLine that his on-set behavior has been improperly characterized.
“This rumor that Clayne is difficult…. He’s not,” says the onetime costar, who asked not to be identified for fear of professional reprisal. “He demands that everyone bring their A-game, but that’s a good thing.”
Assessing the nature of the feud between Crawford and Wayans, the onetime costar says, “Damon is used to sitcom work and Clayne is used to cable drama. Damon likes sitcom hours, while Clayne wanted the show to be Emmy material. It was oil and water.”
A second person who has worked alongside Crawford in the past says, “He’s been working for 20 years and has a stellar reputation,” adding: “He is the most wonderful, most collaborative, most brilliant actor…. I call B.S. [on the Lethal Weapon situation].”
Lethal Weapon returns for its third season with new series lead Seann William Scott on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 9/8c on Fox. (Watch the first promo here.)