When Castle ended, I was worried we wouldn't get to see Nathan Fillion on TV anymore. Then it was announced he'd be starring on The Rookie and I was thrilled. Now, the show may be in jeopardy after one of its actresses is leaving due to racism and sexual harassment from a department head.
Afton Williamson, who played the title character's training officer Talia Bishop, announced her departure 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” ❤️🙏🏽
Williamson quickly grew as a fan favourite, and even she acknowledged the love for Bishop.
“Like, America likes her," she said. "They don’t know why, because she’s stern and they’re usually off-put by that type of demeanor, but for some reason, she wins them over every week because she sees the thing in Nolan that he has to keep proving to everybody else. She’s gunning for the underdog, and I think that that’s why she’s lovable in that way.”
Though originally the network said that Williamson was leaving amicably, a spokesperson confirmed that they are aware of the allegations made by the actress.
“In late June, eOne made us aware and informed us that they launched an investigation that is ongoing,” the ABC spokesperson said. “The safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously.”
Entertainment One also released which read, “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.”
Karen Burke, ABC's entertainment president, also spoke about the allegations.
“I am frustrated, I don’t have a lot of answers; I wish I had more,” Burke said. “I heard at the end of June that there were allegations, and an investigation has been launched. We are waiting for answers. As soon as we learn more, we will make determination based on what’s found.”
She added that she hopes the investigation provides "results that are independent and trustworthy” in a way that “will guide us how to handle similar situations in the future.”
Season two of The Rookie will air on September 29th, but it's unclear how the show will handle Williamson's departure.