Report: 'The Rookie' co-star Afton Williamson's misconduct claims called 'unfounded' after investigation, she says there is a 'cover up'
EEW Magazine News // Associated Press
Actress Afton Williamson has written a response to the ABC drama series producer who said claims of misconduct against her on the set of “The Rookie” weren’t substantiated by an independent investigator.
The 35-year-old co-star of the show said she was quitting in August because of sexual harassment and racial discrimination she experienced during its freshman year last season. Now she is saying the network is hiding the truth.
“What saddens me the most is that the lengths that were taken to deceive, lie, and cover up the truth, were far greater than those made to protect and maintain a safe working environment for employees,” she said in a lengthy post on Instagram. “It’s heartbreaking for everyone on that set, past and present and for every actor out there who stands in the face of harassment and discrimination, assault and injustice.”
Production company Entertainment One said Tuesday, the investigation led it to conclude no unlawful or inappropriate behavior was committed by the co-workers accused by Williamson.
The probe, which began in late June, involved some 400 hours of interviews and review of video and other evidence, Entertainment One said in a statement. The full report wasn’t released for privacy reasons, said the company known as eOne.
In her continued response to this new development she said, “As a black woman, an artist, an actor, in 2019, my speaking the truth, standing up for myself, and leaving an unsafe work environment, changed things for a lot of people: black women, artists, actors, victims, and survivors of injustice and discrimination; gave hope and a promise that things will change— that things are changing and that is not in vain.”
She vowed to continue to work to improve conditions for cast and crew on sets.
The executive producers, one of whom Williamson previously accused of mishandling her allegations, were found to have “addressed matters of which they were made aware promptly and in a fair and reasonable manner,” eOne said.
The company said it recognizes that people view situations through their own “experiences and perspectives,” adding that it regretted that “Ms. Williamson’s time on the series was not a positive one for her, and we respect her decision to move on to other projects.”
Williams said, “My prayer is that we get to a point in this industry where we don’t just talk about it in 2-hour mandatory meetings. But we adhere to keeping the promises made to everyone on every set, tirelessly fulfilling their dreams with passion and dedication. In order to be the change I want to see, I will continue to work so that casts & crews alike, finally see words align with action.”
A separate statement from the Disney-owned network welcomed the probe’s completion.
“We are confident that eOne takes these matters seriously and that they will continue to look for the best ways to surface concerns and address complaints,” ABC and ABC Studios said in a joint statement.
The law firm of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp hired third-party EXTTI, a firm that investigates allegations of workplace misconduct and discrimination, to handle the probe, eOne said.
Williams ended her post urging positive change. “We’ve got to do better as an industry,” she said. “It’s just talk until you actually do something.”
The Los Angeles-based crime drama, starring Nathan Fillion in the title role of a rookie police officer, returns Sept. 29 for its second season.