Jason Mitchell has opened up about what he says are the real reasons for his departure from Lena Waithe’s Showtime series “The Chi” and the Netflix movie “Desperados” following an investigation into an accusation about off-set behavior in May.
In a radio interview on “The Breakfast Club” Monday, Mitchell answered questions about the sexual misconduct allegations that lead to his departure from both projects, and to be dropped by his agency, UTA.
According to Mitchell, it began during pre-production on “Desperadoes” after a night out in Mexico City with one of his fellow cast members, whom he did not name. You can watch the full interview above.
“To be honest I’m not 100% sure what the allegations themselves were, but I can tell you what happened,” Mitchell said. “I went out with a co-worker of mine, and she got drunk. Being the person that I am, I felt responsible to make sure she got home.”
“We’re in Mexico City, we’re in a foreign land, and we should stick together. So I was like, OK, this isn’t where I leave her. I made sure she got home. And the next day it was — it kind of all slapped me in my face,” he continued.
He maintained that nothing sexual happened between himself and his cast-mate when he dropped her off at her hotel.
“I had a girlfriend at the time as well, so I felt like I was doing the right thing. The next day, they cancelled rehearsal and they came to me, and were like, ‘Jason, we need to talk to you about this activity that went on,'” he said. “They weren’t specific with me about anything, and I was a little baffled by that, but they did pay me in full before I left… I think that Netflix just made an executive decision to send me home,” he said.
He added, “I just want say for anybody who’s ever been around me, they know I’m one of the most loving and sweet people in the world. But if I did do anything, say anything, make anybody feel any kind of way, you have my deepest apologies… I’ve never put my hands on somebody or anything like that.”
Mitchell was ousted from “The Chi,” on which he was considered the lead, after the “Desperadoes” firing. But he said there was “no situation” with actress Tiffany Boone, who was involved in the allegations against him. He also said that former show-runner Ayanna Floyd Davis “made a statement for Tiffany Boone, and also I guess said some things about ‘Desperadoes’ and she had a lot to say, but she was the only person that ever made a statement at all.” (Soon after his exit, Davis came forward with a statement claiming that Waithe and others involved in the show were “well aware of Jason’s behavior and his multiple HR cases” before his firing from “Desperadoes.”)
“I was a little taken aback by the whole situation that happened, but the actual reason I got let go was because Disney saw what was going on with ‘Desperadoes,’ and they had just bought Showtime. So they decided not to pick up my option. And of course I’ve been on the show for was about to be 3 seasons. I was nominated for an award, so I was asking for more money, all these sorts of things, so they just weren’t down to do it.” (Disney bought Fox 21, which produced “The Chi,” as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets, but Disney did not acquire Showtime. Fox 21 and Showtime declined to comment).
He went on to say that he feels that Davis used the momentum of the Me Too movement against him.
“To be honest, I really hate to say this because I’m all for the Me Too movement — I have two beautiful daughters who would like to be in the business, so I’m all for the Me Too movement — but in this situation, Ayanna tried to use it as a really, really ugly weapon.”
Davis and Boone did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Tuesday.