The Rookie Star Afton Williamson Quits Show After Claiming She Experienced Racial Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

''I owe it to you my amazing fans to share the Truth,'' she began her lengthy Instagram post

By Alyssa Morin Aug 05, 2019 2:14 PMTags
Afton WilliamsonPaul Archuleta/FilmMagic

The Rookie actress Afton Williamson announced she would not be returning to the ABC series for its second season.

She co-starred on the police drama with Nathan Fillion, Eric Winter and Melissa O'Neil. Showrunner Alexi Hawley, ABC Studios and Entertainment One are also attached to the project.

On Sunday, Williamson shared the news about her departure in a lengthy Instagram post. In her caption, she claimed she experienced sexual harassment and racial discrimination on the TV series.

"I will not be returning for Season 2 of The Rookie. I owe it to you my amazing fans to share the Truth," she began her social media caption. "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."

Afton alleges things "escalated" during the show's wrap-party, where she claims she was sexually assaulted. She said her sexual harassment claims were "reported directly" to the "showrunner/EP" but it was "not reported to HR as promised."

Nathan Fillion Gives 5 Reasons to Watch "The Rookie"

"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," Williamson shared, adding, "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."

ABC/Tony Rivetti

Williamson claims she was "assured" her sexual harassment allegations would be handled accordingly.

"After my initial report of sexual harassment, I was assured that the actor would be fired," she wrote. "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."

She continued, "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."

A spokesperson for ABC tells E! News Entertainment One has "launched an investigation that is ongoing."

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

On Monday, while speaking at TCA, network president Karey Burke addressed Williamson's claims. "I don't have a lot of answers, I wish I had more I learned…at the end of June there were allegations and that an investigation had been launched by Entertainment One," she told reporters. "And I'm waiting for the results of that investigation, just as you are to get more answers."