Ali Larter has apologized to her “Heroes” co-star Leonard Roberts after the actor penned an essay for Variety alleging on-set mistreatment by Larter.
“I am deeply saddened to hear about Leonard Roberts’ experience on ‘Heroes’ and I am heartbroken reading his perception of our relationship, which absolutely doesn’t match my memory nor experience on the show,” Larter said in a statement to TVLine. “I respect Leonard as an artist and I applaud him or anyone using their voice and platform. I am truly sorry for any role I may have played in his painful experience during that time and I wish him and his family the very best.”
Her apology comes hours after Variety published a lengthy essay by Roberts in which the actor said on- and off-set tension between him and Larter — who played a married couple on the NBC drama — led to his firing after the show’s first season.
“The day after returning from upfronts, I received a call from [showrunner Tim] Kring, my first ever,” Roberts wrote. “In a short voicemail message, he said that due to ‘the Ali Larter situation,’ when the show returned for Season 2, audiences would learn that D.L. had died.”
Roberts described several instances of friction with Larter leading up to his dismissal, including one “intense and loud conversation” with producers over a bedroom scene. Variety said it corroborated Roberts’ story with 10 other people who characterized Larter as a “divisive” presence on set who “did not like working with Roberts.”
Roberts said Kring, in the meeting to discuss his character’s exit, attributed the decision to their lack of chemistry as a couple. In the essay, however, Roberts characterized his termination as part of a larger pattern of the show sidelining him as a Black actor. He pointed to his character being described in the original pilot as “a white man’s nightmare” and how he was never granted a meeting with the show’s writers to discuss the direction of his character despite white co-stars getting the same opportunity.
Roberts also noted that in the wake of their behind-the-scenes issues, it was him, the Black actor, who was let go in favor of a white co-star.
“My mind turned on the meeting for days,” he wrote. “I was now the one — as an actor, a Black man, and a human being — who felt disrespected. I wanted to feel seen and heard, if only on the way out the door. But unlike my co-star, nothing felt resolved to my satisfaction.”
Kring issued his own statement to Variety, acknowledging that a lack of diversity behind-the-scenes and in the writers room “may have contributed to Leonard experiencing the lack of sensitivity that he describes.”