‘Rookie’ Star Afton Williamson Quits, Says She Experienced Sexual Harassment and Racial Discrimination

“The safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously,” ABC says in a statement

Last Updated: August 4, 2019 @ 6:00 PM

Actress Afton Williamson announced in a lengthy Instagram post on Sunday that she will not return for the second season of the ABC cop drama “The Rookie,” accusing the show’s hair department head of repeated instances of racial discrimination and sexual harassment that she said went ignored by the showrunner despite her complaints.

In the Instagram post, Williamson accused the show’s hair department of “Racial Discrimination/Racially Charged inappropriate comments” and also accused the show’s executive producers of bullying her on set.

She also accused showrunner Alexi Hawley of not passing on her complaints to human resources and said that the hair department head — whom she did not identify by name — was only fired after a “sexual assault” incident she said she suffered at the show’s wrap party.

In addition, Williamson also accused an unnamed recurring guest star on the show of sexual harassment and said she was required to film scenes with him even after she filed complaints about his behavior.

“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.”

“After my initial report of sexual harassment, I was assured that the actor would be fired. […] This actor reappeared on our call sheet at the end of the season, I was even written in scenes with him.”

“The allegations involve a production from Entertainment One. In late June, eOne made us aware and informed us that they launched an investigation that is ongoing,” a spokesperson for ABC said in a statement. “The safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously.”

Entertainment One said in their own statement, “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.”

Hawley did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.

ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke is scheduled to speak with reporters on Monday during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour.

Read Williamson’s full Instagram post below.

View this post on Instagram

I will not be returning for Season 2 of The Rookie. I owe it to you my amazing fans to share the Truth. Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced Racial Discrimination/Racially Charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from Executive Producers. During the Season, it continued along with Sexual Harassment from a recurring guest star and the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept. Head escalated into Sexual Assault at our Wrap party.The Sexual Harassment though reported directly to the Showrunner/EP remained undocumented and was not reported to HR as promised. The Hair Dept. Head was fired ONLY after the sexual assault and NOT for an entire year of outward racism/racially charged language and bullying behavior in and out of the Hair and Makeup trailer. HR protocol was never adhered to following the above reports given by me to my Showrunner/EP and an investigation was never issued for any of my claims. The only time I was asked to participate in an investigation was after a meeting I called in June following our Season 2 announcement. 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. After my initial report of sexual harassment, I was assured that the actor would be fired. I was also asked to film with him the very next day as a courtesy to the script, even though we had not begun filming the episode yet. This actor reappeared on our call sheet at the end of the season, I was even written in scenes with him. I asked the Showrunner about this and he admitted to me that the actor had not been fired nor had he gotten HR involved. I was asked to return this season, and promised that “everything was handled.” The investigation hadn’t even begun and Season 2 had already started filming. I turned it down and I walked. Now is the best time in the world to be a woman and I have a platform so it’s time to use my Voice. Strength comes from within. It comes from Above. “Greater is He that is within Me than he that is in the world” ❤️????????

A post shared by Afton Williamson (@therealaftonw) on

Reid Nakamura contributed to this story.

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