ABC Boss Karey Burke Addresses ‘The Rookie’ Star Afton Williamson’s Racial Discrimination Accusations

TCA 2019: “I’m hopeful that those results will be independent and trustworthy, and I anticipate that they will be,” Burke says of the ongoing investigation

Afton Williamson ABC The Rookie
ABC/Tony Rivetti

ABC Entertainment chief Karey Burke addressed the racial discrimination accusations raised by former “The Rookie” star Afton Williamson, saying that the network is waiting for the outside investigation to run its course before taking any action.

“I learned alongside my colleagues at the end of June that there were allegations and that an investigation had been launched by eOne,” Burke said on stage at the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday. “I’m waiting for the results of that investigation, just as you are, to get more answers.”

In an Instagram post on Sunday, Williamson announced that she would not return for the second season of the Nathan Fillion-led drama, accusing the show’s hair department of racial discrimination and making inappropriate comments. She also accused showrunner Alexi Hawley of refusing to pass on her complaints to human resources and said a recurring guest star on the show had sexually harassed her.

“The only time I was asked to participate in an investigation was after a meeting I called in June following our Season 2 announcement,” Williamson wrote. “This meeting included the Showrunner and two other producers as well as my agent and SAG-AFTRA Union Rep. It was clear to all present in the meeting that the Showrunner had not shared my reports with the any of the producers.”

The production company behind the show, Entertainment One, said on Monday that it had launched an investigation to the matter.

“I’m hopeful that those results will be independent and trustworthy, and I anticipate that they will be,” Burke said. “And at that time, those answers and those conclusions will help guide us in how to handle those situations like that in the future.”

“I wish I had more answers,” she continued in response to further questions from reporters on the matter. “I’m frustrated, I know this is frustrating for you too. As soon as I know more and we know more, we will make a determination based on that. Too much is unknown. I think it would be irresponsible of me to conjecture.”