‘SMILF’ Creator Frankie Shaw Cleared After ABC Studios Investigation Over Misconduct Accusation

Studio found no wrongdoing after a complaint was made by actress Samara Weaving regarding a sex scene


ABC Studios has cleared Showtime’s “SMILF” creator and star Frankie Shaw following an investigation into an accusation of misconduct, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Shaw’s behavior was under review due to a complaint made by Samara Weaving (above left), a series regular on the first two seasons of “SMILF,” to a director and fellow series star Rosie O’Donnell, according to an individual with knowledge of the investigation.

Weaving — who plays Nelson Rose, the love interest of Rafi (Miguel Gomez), the father of Shaw’s character’s young son — complained about being asked to perform a nude sex scene and that while speaking with O’Donnell had mentioned she was made uncomfortable by Shaw’s behavior during a similar scene in the first season, according to the individual.

Weaving and Gomez, who was also in the Season 2 scene, were eventually told they could film the scene in their underwear, the individual added.

O’Donnell disclosed Weaving’s complaint to an exec at Showtime, who took it to compliance officials at ABC Studios (the show’s production house), according to the individual. A human resources investigation was then conducted at ABC Studios, with Shaw’s full cooperation, and she was cleared of personal wrongdoing, according to multiple knowledgeable individuals.

Weaving was released from her contract at her request and will not return to the show, should it be picked up for a third season, the individual said.

ABC Studios, SAG-AFTRA and representatives for O’Donnell and Weaving did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, and Showtime declined the request.

The Hollywood Reporter published a story Monday referencing Weaving’s incident on “SMILF.” The piece also contains accusations made against Shaw regarding alleged discriminatory behavior toward the show’s African-American writers, including claims of “alleged race-based separation” of writing staff.

Shaw vehemently denies such accusations. ABC has received no such complaints made in regards to any discriminatory behavior, an individual noted.

“I’ve dedicated my career to creating platforms for underrepresented voices — both in front of and behind the lens,” Shaw said in a statement to TheWrap. “That’s why I felt so strongly that at least half of my crew on ‘SMILF’ needed to be female, that we should create an intersectional workplace in which more than a third of writers were women of color, and that it was important I have female shadow directors on set. I am proud of the accomplishments and that all but one of ‘SMILF’s 18 episodes over the first two seasons were directed by women, because these are my values and priorities and I am grateful for the support and contributions of the ‘SMILF’ team in helping me to realize them.”

“I work daily to create an environment in which everyone should feel safe, and in which I can continue to grow as a leader and manager,” she continued. “I am now and always have been open to hearing and addressing all concerns and issues that fall within my control. It pains me to learn that anyone felt uncomfortable on my set. I sincerely hope we can work together to resolve any and all issues, as I am committed to creating a workplace in which all people feel safe and heard.”

The Writers Guild did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

“SMILF’s” eight-episode first season debuted last November on Showtime. Season 2 is set to premiere next month.