Pauley Perrette announced she was leaving the CBS procedural "NCIS" after 15 years and even though this happened years ago, fans are still curious about what really happened. For good reason, the truth eventually came to light — and revealed a much darker reason for her exit
Perrette, a fan favorite from NCIS, played Abby Sciuto, a forensic scientist known for her distinct goth-style and interest in the supernatural as well as her skills in the lab. She first confirmed her departure before the start of the series' 15th via Twitter.
Tabloid speculation was ripe after Perrette revealed that she had been assaulted on set, although she never flat-out said who it was. After she made multiple posts saying goodbye to her cast members, it was noted that she didn't send one to Harmon. All Perrette said in her statement after she left was that there was a "machine" keeping her silent.
Maybe I'm wrong for not "˜spilling the beans' Telling the story, THE TRUTH. I feel I have to protect my crew, jobs and so many people. But at what cost? I.don't know. Just know, I'm trying to do the right thing, but maybe silence isn't the right thing about crime. I'm... Just... ?
There is a 'machine' keeping me silent and feeding FALSE stories about me. A very rich, very powerful publicity 'machine.' No morals, no obligation to truth, and I'm just left here, reading the lies, trying to protect my crew. Trying to remain calm. He did it.
I've been supporting anti-bullying programs forever. But now I KNOW because it was ME! If it's school or work, that you're required to go to? It's horrifying. I left. Multiple Physical Assaults. I REALLY get it now. Stay safe. Nothing is worth your safety. Tell someone.
Show insiders spoke with The Wrap and revealed that the reason for her departure goes back to an incident in 2016 in which Harmon’s dog bit a member of the crew, requiring 15 stitches, and Perrette objected when the dog was allowed to return to the set afterward. Perrette has made it clear that Harmon is the reason she departed, and also implied that she was fired.
“NO I AM NOT COMING BACK! EVER! (Please stop asking?)" Perrette wrote on Twitter. "I am terrified of Harmon and him attacking me. I have nightmares about it. I have a new show that is SAFE AND HAPPY! You’ll love it! #HappyPlace Love y’all!"
She then posted pictures of a crew member with a black eye, and said that she lost her job over speaking up.
“You think I didn’t expect blow back? You got me wrong. THIS happened To my crew member and I fought like hell to keep it from happening again!” she wrote. “To protect my crew! And then I was physically assaulted for saying NO!? and I lost my job.”
CBS released a relatively mundane statement on the topic when Perrette originally spoke out, saying they "took the matter seriously."
“Pauley Perrette had a terrific run on NCIS and we are all going to miss her,” the network said in a statement to Us Weekly at the time. “Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows.”
It's not the first time a former NCIS star has been the center of controversy due to sexual assault. Michael Weatherly, who now stars on Bull, received backlash from co-star Eliza Dushku, but the network still decided to renew the show.
Apparently, CBS added in extra safeguards to ensure potential future victims are protected. This includes an anonymous phone line and email to lodge complaints, as well as "trained HR professionals visiting all our sets on a regular basis."
Perrette is speaking up for herself and those around her, and it will be interesting to see how the network responds to these claims.
On July 7, 2020, she announced her retirement from acting. She initially planned to do so after leaving NCIS (2003), but changed her mind after accepting the lead role in the short-lived comedy series Broke (2020).