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After 15 seasons as a beloved star on CBS' NCIS, Pauley Perrette made her exit as Abby Sciuto back in 2018. The career shift appeared to come out of the blue at the time, though Perrette has since made troubling claims of behind-the-scenes abuse that influenced her decision to bow out of TV's most-watched drama. In the wake of CBS firing Hawaii Five-0 reboot creator and now-former MacGyver showrunner Peter Lenkov over various behind-the-scenes complaints, Perrette fiercely recalled her NCIS problems and pointed out how nothing has changed on the show.
Not long after it was reported that MacGyver star Lucas Till felt suicidal over the way Peter Lenkov treated both him and others on the set, Pauley Perrette took to Twitter with an emotionally driven set of messages that recalled similar allegations that she and others leveled against certain CBS employees. Here's how she put it when sharing Vanity Fair extensive look into the complaints made against Lenkov.
I’ve known about his abuse a long time. Some words were EXACTLY what I and SO MANY went to CBS HR about THAT OTHER GUY’S abuse for over a decade y’all STILL support him on my old show. Oh, yeah #MoneyOverMorals as usual
With her use of "that other guy," Pauley Perrette is very likely speaking of her former NCIS co-star Mark Harmon, whose Leroy Gibbs has been the core lead for the drama's entire run. Perrette has made several accusations of abuse about Harmon in the past, though not always directly by name, and said she would never return to NCIS because of him. She does use "MH" in a later tweet, but Perrette first brought up a conversation she reportedly had with The Talk creator and The Conners star Sara Gilbert. In her words:
Or as the brilliant small wonder [Sara Gilbert] said to me when I told her 'But CBS said publicly my story was true' She said with wise steely eyed precision looking up into my tall giraffe naivety 'SO? Why is he still there? And you’re not' I had no answer. He’s still there. And there are things SO RACIST and SO MISOGYNISTIC and SO HOMOPHOBIC and cruel that were said on set at that show that I have never spoken of because the language is SO HURTFUL. And y’all wondered why I quit? Those producers are still there. All of them. Including HIM.
To date, Pauley Perrette hasn't publicly divulged very many details about her assault claims and other complaints, for various reasons. The above message is about as direct as it gets, calling him and others guilty of using racist, gender-biased and homophobic language, and again implying that was the reason why she quit the show. Perrette then points out that neither Harmon nor anyone else that she made HR complaints about were ever removed from NCIS.
Though Pauley Perrette clearly has issues with Mark Harmon and others involved with NCIS, those issues didn't extend to the entirety of the CBS network. After taking some time away from the small screen, Perrette followed up on NCIS by returning to CBS with the sitcom Broke. Though the show was cancelled, the actress still celebrated its existence, having said it was a more natural fit for her than NCIS was.
And good guy Lucas Till a beautiful truthful human, I too went to CBS told about abuse by MH on set & I was asked THREE TIMES 'are you asking for money?' I was like 'Huh? No!' And I did NOT! I wanted me & my crew to be safe from him. I should’ve and given it to his other victims.
Mark Harmon reportedly sought to get CBS to defend him against Pauley Perrette's claims, with rumors of a potential lawsuit also floating around. It doesn't appear that anything major has happened on that front since, though it's possible that more will come from this situation in the future.
At this point, CBS is still planning on bringing the next season of NCIS to fans this fall, though with productions still on lockdown, it's unclear if that will still happen or not. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on that front, as well as more updates to our 2020 Fall TV premiere schedule.