The production studio behind ABC’s The Rookie says it has launched an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and racial bullying made by cast member Afton Williamson, who quit the series after sensing that her complaints had been largely ignored.
As first reported by TVLine, Williamson is not returning for Season 2 of the procedural, where she played training officer Talia Bishop opposite Nathan Fillion’s title character. In a message posted to Instagram early Sunday morning, the actress alleged that starting with the pilot shoot in spring 2018 and throughout all of Season 1, she “experienced racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department,” as well as sexual harassment from a recurring guest star. Williamson alleges that the bullying from the hair department escalated into sexual assault at the Season 1 wrap party.
“HR protocol was never adhered to following the above reports given by me to my showrunner/EP [Alexi Hawley], and an investigation was never issued for any of my claims,” Williamson said in her Instagram post. “Despite being told that “everything was handled” following a June meeting that she called — involving showrunner Alexi Hawley, two other producers, her agent and a SAG-AFTRA union representative — “The investigation hadn’t even begun and Season 2 had already started filming.” As a result, she says, “I walked.”
A statement issued by production studio eOne reads, “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.”
ABC in turn issued a statement saying, “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.”
Showrunner Hawley previously told TVLine of Williamson’s most unexpected exit, “It’s not really my place to get into her personal decision.”