Afton Williamson’s Sexual Misconduct & Racism Allegations Rejected By ‘Rookie’ Producer eOne; No “Inappropriate” Behavior Occurred, Probe Says
Less than six weeks after Afton Williamson revealed on social media that she left ABC’s The Rookie over sexual harassment and racial discrimination incidents, producer eOne today released the results of its investigation to what happened on the Nathan Fillion-starring LAPD drama.
“As a result of the independent investigation, we have concluded that those identified in Ms. Williamson’s allegations did not conduct themselves in an unlawful manner or demonstrate behavior inappropriate for the workplace,” said eOne in a statement Tuesday “It was also concluded that the executive producers, including showrunner Alexi Hawley, addressed matters of which they were made aware promptly and in a fair and reasonable manner,” the studio added.
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“We recognize and respect that as individuals, the lens through which we view situations, interactions and comments, can differ based on our experiences and perspectives,” eOne noted in their conclusions of the probe by law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP and investigators EXTTI. “As such, we regret that Ms. Williamson’s time on the series was not a positive one for her, and we respect her decision to move on to other projects.” – read the full eOne statement below.
With its second season set to debut September 29, Homeland vet Williamson announced August 4 on her Instagram feed that she had been subjected to multiple incidents of inappropriate behavior from members of the crew and a guest star. The actor made a point of claiming that EPs did nothing to address her concerns until well after the fact.
“Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced Racial Discrimination/Racially Charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from Executive Producers,” Williamson wrote of her time on the Alexi Hawley-created series from Entertainment One and ABC Studios, on which she played a Los Angeles cop partnered with Fillion’s middle-aged newbie John Nolan.
“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,” Williamson continued. “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.”
Within hours of Williamson making her June exit and the reason behind it public, eOne said it had opened an investigation into her allegations and the way they were handled on the production. “We take claims of this nature very seriously,” a spokesperson for the studio said in early August. “We have initiated an independent investigation which is ongoing and as such, it would not be appropriate to comment at this time.”
At the time, ABC Studios said that in late June, eOne “made us aware and informed us that they launched an investigation that is ongoing.” The studio added, “the safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously.”
“We are glad that eOne has completed an investigation into allegations on the set of The Rookie,” an ABC/ABC Studios spokesperson told Deadline. “We are confident that eOne takes these matters seriously and that they will continue to look for the best ways to surface concerns and address complaints.”
The day after Williamson’s initial disclosure, the actor also revealed the name of The Rookie guest actor whom she says harassed her on set.
In that context, ABC entertainment president Karey Burke said at the summer TCA that she hoped eOne’s probe gleamed “results that are independent and trustworthy.” The exec added that she aimed to use those result to “guide us how to handle similar situations in the future.”
Today’s findings may make such guidance a bit more complicated.
Here is eOne’s full statement:
We are today addressing the findings of the investigation initiated as a result of the claims made by actor Afton Williamson regarding our series The Rookie. The investigation was commissioned via law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP who engaged third-party firm EXTTI, recognized for their extensive expertise in investigating allegations of harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.
We take all allegations of inappropriate conduct very seriously, particularly when the allegations involve discrimination or sexual harassment of any nature. We appreciate the cooperation of all those who were interviewed, including Ms. Williamson, the individuals she identified by name, and several other relevant production and staff members.
The investigation encompassed nearly 400 hours of interviews and review of evidence, involving a significant amount of material, including video, that was provided to and examined by the investigator. As a result of the independent investigation, we have concluded that those identified in Ms. Williamson’s allegations did not conduct themselves in an unlawful manner or demonstrate behavior inappropriate for the workplace. It was also concluded that the executive producers, including showrunner Alexi Hawley, addressed matters of which they were made aware promptly and in a fair and reasonable manner.
We recognize and respect that as individuals, the lens through which we view situations, interactions and comments, can differ based on our experiences and perspectives. As such, we regret that Ms. Williamson’s time on the series was not a positive one for her, and we respect her decision to move on to other projects.
We continue to focus on fostering a safe and respectful work environment for all our corporate and production employees and further reinforce our policies and procedures. To protect the privacy of all those interviewed, the investigator’s report will not be available publicly.
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