When The Rookie returns to ABC this fall for Season 2, actress Afton Williamson will no longer be a part of the action, and the actress is now ready to talk about the reasons she walked away from the crime drama.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Williamson revealed that she decided not to accept an offer to return to the series after several complaints she made about colleagues’ behavior on set went unaddressed. “I will not be returning for Season 2 of The Rookie,” she wrote Sunday morning. “I owe it to you my amazing fans to share the Truth.”
Williamson’s allegations involved racist comments and bullying, as well as a sexual harassment claim against one of her (as-yet-unnamed) co-stars in the series.
The first incident involved a member of the hair department. “Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced Racial Discrimination/Racially Charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from Executive Producers,” wrote Williamson. “During the Season, it continued along with Sexual Harassment from a recurring guest star and the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept. Head escalated into Sexual Assault at our Wrap party.”
Williamson revealed that she reported the assault directly to series’ showrunner Alexi Hawley, but that it “remained undocumented and was not reported to HR as promised.” Per Williamson, the hair department employee who was responsible for the offensive comments was fired only after her sexual assault claim came to light, “and NOT for an entire year of outward racism/racially charged language and bullying behavior in and out of the Hair and Makeup trailer.” Williamson alleges that human resources protocol was not followed in addressing those concerns, and an investigation was not opened.
An investigation was opened, however, after she called for a meeting after Season 2 was announced. “The only time I was asked to participate in an investigation was after a meeting I called in June following our Season 2 announcement,” she wrote. “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.”
The actress also claims that she was forced to work with a co-star who’d sexually harassed her, even after reporting it, and that she was misled about that actor’s future with the show.
“After my initial report of sexual harassment, I was assured that the actor would be fired. 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,” Williamson wrote. “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. 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.”
ABC didn’t not immediately return TV Guide’s request for comment.
The Rookie Season 2 premieres on ABC on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 10/9c.