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The Rookie's production company and network shared their responses to actress Afton Williamson's claims. Fans of the ABC show were saddened to hear she would not be returning for The Rookie Season 2, which premieres this September. It was a shock, though, to hear her side on why she quit. Williamson took to Instagram in a lengthy post sharing her frustrations with the show -- alleging sexual harassment from an unnamed recurring guest star; plus racist commentary, bullying, and ultimately a sexual assault from the head of the hair department.
The Rookie production studio eOne issued a statement on the allegations:
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.
ABC Studios also issued a statement, referencing the eOne investigation (via TVLine):
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.
In her Instagram post, Afton Williamson claimed the hair department head was only fired after the alleged sexual assault and not for a whole year of misconduct, and she alleges showrunner Alexi Hawley failed to take action and never even contacted human resources on the guest actor in question. She also added this about the investigation:
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.
Afton Williamson said after her initial report of sexual harassment, she was told the actor in question would be fired. However, she was also asked to film with him the very next day as a courtesy to the script. The actor reappeared on the show's call sheet at the end of the season, and Williamson said she was even written in scenes with him. She wrote that she asked the showrunner about that, and he admitted 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.
Alexi Hawley has not responded to the allegations at this point, and it's unlikely he will say anything while the claims are being investigated.
In The Rookie Season 1, Afton Williamson played Talia Bishop, the newly promoted training officer assigned to work with titular rookie John Nolan (Nathan Fillion). Nathan Fillion is also an executive producer on the show, reuniting with Castle producer Alexi Hawley. Fillion has not responded to his former co-star's allegations either and, again, he probably won't during the investigation.
The Rookie is moving to Sundays for Season 2 and premieres September 29 on ABC. Keep up with everything that has been cancelled or renewed with our TV guide.