[Blind Gossip] There is a drama series on ABC called The Rookie. The lead actor is Nathan Fillion. The show had a successful first season and was picked up for a second season.
One of female stars of the show will not be coming back.
She claims that she was bullied, s*xually harassed, assaulted, and subjected to racist remarks on the set.
Afton Williamson is a veteran of several TV series, including Banshee, The Breaks, and Shades of Blue. Here is a photo of The Rookie cast. Afton Williamson is on the far left.
Although Williamson reported these events to the Showrunner and Executive Producers of the show, their response seemed to be both weak and slow.
So she quit.
Here is Afton Williamson’s statement:
I will not be returning for Season 2 of The Rookie. I owe it to you my amazing fans to share the Truth.
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 S*xual Harassment from a recurring guest star and the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept. Head escalated into S*xual Assault at our Wrap party.
The S*xual Harassment though reported directly to the Showrunner/EP remained undocumented and was not reported to HR as promised.
The Hair Dept. Head was fired ONLY after the s*xual assault and NOT for an entire year of outward racism/racially charged language and bullying behavior in and out of the Hair and Makeup trailer.
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.
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. After my initial report of s*xual 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. 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. 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. Strength comes from within. It comes from Above. “Greater is He that is within Me than he that is in the world”
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The Showrunner of The Rookie may be Alexi Hawley, who has worked with Nathan Fillion since Castle. There are a half dozen Executive Producers on the show – including actor Nathan Fillion – and more than a dozen other producers, so it is unclear who among them was appraised of this situation.
Regardless, there seems to have been a failure on the part of the Showrunner and Producers and ABC to address this situation promptly and professionally.
Similar: Why He Was Mean To His Costar
Recurring Guest Star:
[Optional] Do you think she did the right thing by quitting? What do you think will happen now?
Recurring Guest Star: Demetrius Grosse
Actress Afton Williamson has made the bold move of announcing the names of her two perpetrators.
Williamson claims that she was s*xually harassed by actor Demetrius Grosse. You may know him from his roles on Frontier, Westworld, The Brave, Banshee and Justified.
Williamson also claims that she was racially bullied and s*xually assaulted by hair stylist Sallie Nicole Ciganovich. Ciganovich has previously worked on 22 Jump Street, Wisdom of the Crowd, Stitchers, Bones, and So You Think You Can Dance.
From USA Today:
Afton Williamson names ‘The Rookie’ co-star, crew member she accused of racism, harassment
Afton Williamson, “The Rookie” actress who announced over the weekend she was quitting the ABC police drama after stating she was subjected to bullying, racist comments, s*xual harassment and s*xual assault, is now publicly naming the people she accused.
On Sunday, the actress said she was s*xually harassed by a “recurring guest star,” who she identified late Monday as actor Demetrius Grosse, who played Detective Kevin Wolfe in five episodes in Season 1, according to his IMDB page.
She also accused the show’s “hair department head” of racial discrimination and “racially charged inappropriate comments,” as well as bullying that “escalated into s*xual assault at our wrap party.” She named the department head as Sallie Ciganovich.
“This season on ‘The Rookie,’ I was s*xually harassed by fellow actor Demetrius Grosse. I was racially bullied and discriminated against and s*xually assaulted by hair department head (Sallie) Nicole Ciganovich,” Williamson wrote in the post.
USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for ABC, Grosse, Ciganovich and Williamson for comment.
Williamson played LAPD training officer Talia Bishop opposite star and executive producer Nathan Fillion, who plays a 40-something police trainee. ABC announced in May the show would get picked up for a second season.
ABC entertainment president Karey Burke told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that she’s “frustrated” and doesn’t “have a lot of answers” currently. She said she learned of the allegations at the end of June and, as far as she knows, that’s when the investigation began.
“I wish I had more,” she said. “We are waiting for answers… As soon as we learn more, we will make determination based on what’s found.”
Here is Afton Williamson’s statement that names the actor and the hair stylist.
To my Fans, my Friends, my Supporters:
I want to Thank EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU. I am so beyond overwhelmed by the outpouring of love, kind words, scriptures, strength filled quotes and devout support that has come my way. One Instagram post is just like those 2 fish and 5 loaves of Bread.
The rippling effect it has had in just a few hours shows how much this world is aching with victims of racism, discrimination, s*xual harassment, s*xual assault, s*xual abuse all of it. I am no stranger to all of the above even before this experience. But it is through this experience and my platform that God pushed me to use the power within me. It just takes a VOICE. I never imagined so many of us have experienced these horrible circumstances and that can NO LONGER GO UNHEARD.
We have a voice. ALL OF US. It is our DUTY to use it. I used to fear the word Victim. I scoffed at it because all I was told when these injustices happened to me, was to Survive. Survivor I am. Victim I am also. A victim of injustice. A victim of assault. A victim of abuse and harassment. If you have experienced any of the above, you are too and I for one stand with you and I’m no longer afraid to be vocal about it.
We Can Stand Together. Let’s Change This Sickness. That Change starts with US.
This season on The Rookie, I was s*xually harassed by fellow actor Demetrius Grosse. I was Racially Bullied and Discriminated against and S*xually Assaulted by Hair Department Head Sally Nicole Ciganovich. Let’s BE the CHANGE we WANT to SEE
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Most victims do not name names for years (or ever) for fear of retaliation or being blamed. Afton Williamson’s statement is a highly unusual move.
She certainly has everyone’s attention now. We hope that her actions will lead to these charges being fully investigated!
Nathan Fillion is not just the lead actor on The Rookie. He is also one of the Executive Producers.
Your friends at Blind Gossip have told you in the past that Fillion does not have a great record in dealing with his female costars (see Hollow Point Victory), so we will be particularly interested in hearing how he handled this issue on his set!
No one had the correct guess before the names were publicly released.
Related: Hollow Point Victory
Like the SOLVED items? Read more of them HERE!
Your experience with him was good, but perhaps it was early in his career when he had no power. If he is so approachable why wouldn’t Williamson have asked for his help as EP/lead ? And, if as you say he probably didn’t know, why when she released the story didn’t he come forward and say he knew nothing about it, welcomed the investigation and offer support? Instead, not a word. Perhaps he is quiet because she can dispute any denial or perhaps he just doesn’t care. Either way, not a nice guy.
The show was a recent show. He likely can’t say anything until the investigation is complete.
I worked on a show with Fillion for a few years. He is a very nice guy. Unlike a lot of actors, he’ll talk to absolutely anyone from extras to randoms visiting the set. It’s very possible he didn’t know anything about this. Most actors are EP in name only. It gives them some say in storylines but they’re not dealing with HR issues or sitting in on production meetings every morning. It sounds like she told the Show-runner and he kept it to himself.
Tequila Mama says
Glad she put them on blast. I really that this doesn’t torpedo her career. I really hope something good comes out of this. HR came to me and 7 other people in my department regarding my boss. I was the only woman in the department and when I told HR everything my boss did to me made it very obvious it came from me. Plus it didn’t help that someone told him everything I said. Guess who was let go…ME.
Good for Ms. Williamson! She has showed tremendous strength. Twice as offensive to be sexually assault by some crazy chick. BTW, Ms. W has gorgeous hair!
Her biggest mistake was not going directly to HR. But I’d say her career is pretty much over unless she starts working for a minority production.
I hope Fillion isn’t one of the accused, but I loved Nathan’s guest stint on modern family as Rainer Shine. Guy was as self-absorbed as Hayley. It made for some funny moments.
It’s solved. She named Demetrius Grosse as the recurring star.
Demitruis Grosse her co star
I am glad she revealed the two harassers- they need to be held accountable and pay the consequences. I hope she thinks again and returns for season two now that the perpetrators will be off the set
super sleuth says
I assume this will turn up as a Solved Item tomorrow, as Afton Williamson has already publicly named the alleged offenders.
From her IG account: “I was sexually harassed by fellow actor Demetrius Grosse. I was Racially Bullied and Discriminated against and Sexually Assaulted by Hair Department Head Sally Nicole Ciganovich.”
I believe this story! I know AWFUL AWFUL stories of the behavior of makeup and hair artists. Especially the head of the departments. Not saying all of them, but this situation isn’t shocking to read. I won’t even mention the racism. People like to think “Hollywood Liberals” yadda yadda. You would be surprised at the backwards mentality and bigotry that is in the industry, specifically behind the scenes/crew.
I went trawling through IMDB looking for recurring male characters. I’m glad it wasn’t Graham or Ashmore, because I’d like to continue to believe that Canadians are super-polite.
She absolutely has my support to quit the show! (not that I matter)
She tried to do the right thing by asking for help and was ignored.
Fillon seems to have an issue NOT standing up for his co-workers (and I do not think the bully was him) and he should
The show won’t last without her – she made this show – loved her!
Apprised. And I think Fillion is an all-around jerk.
” Courage of your convictions ” is a cliche that more often than not is not adhered to but there are the few who do. Some big male lions have gone down over the past few years for their behavior. There must be an environment change and strong backrs or this would not have happened. If she is a good , person of good character and not somebody like a Smullet , who in their right mind can denounce this woman for making that move ? She has a fight on her hands but odds are better in 2019
I Am PunkA says
Right thing? Her choice, then yes. I expect a lawsuit to follow, but she did that wrong by airing dirty laundry first on social media. Maybe it settles quick that way though in this climate.
Absolutely! It’s just disgusting that she was made to work in that hostile environment and get harassed. And it sounds like they “punished ” her for “making trouble” by making things worse for her. I hope there is a long paper trail.
Sue. Sue for hostile work environment, sexual harassment and retaliation. And WTF is up with makeup/hair?
She is very brave. I would imagine most actresses would be terrified that their career would be over if they complained so directly and brought in the Union. That showrunner probably was trained to ignore the “women thing” as aren’t they supposed to “do what it takes” to make it, and what’s a little sexual assault? She should be grateful to get the attention. Sheesh. I think she did the right thing,
She seems right. I hope she’s suing and I hope this case is investigated fully. At best, it looks like the show-runner is not following a well established process for reporting grievances. At worst, it looks like an actor was harassed for a full year before facing a) sexual assault and b) sharing scenes with a harasser.
If any of this is true, I hope Nathan Filion stands up for her. He has more power than his show-runner. I’ve worked with him before and he seems like a good guy
Recurring Guest Star: Don’t know, and don’t want to guess.
[Optional] Do you think she did the right thing by quitting? What do you think will happen now?
Yes, I think she did. Hoping they will deal with all the bad actors involved and get her back. Doesn’t sound like this will go away any time soon…
To clarify – when I say “bad actors” above, I meant everyone involved, not just the cast members…
They definitely need to replace the showrunner, and assure that he’s never employed in that role (or any position of authority) again.
What do I think will happen now? Nothing. Nothing will happen.
I loved this show but will not be watching next season. Shame on them all.
Unfortunately, her career is probably toast now.
Why should this show be any different than Castle? Fillion should be ashamed at how he treated Stana Katic. This new show seems no better. Was a fan of his, but now I refuse to watch.
After his treatment of Stana Katic, I could no longer watch re-runs of Castle, which had been a long-time favorite of mine – and I have not watched any of his new show Rookie. These accusations are not gossip. There is a long history of unacceptable behavior here. How long will it take for the network to drop this guy? It will only happen if people stop watching. We ALL need to stop watching and tweet ABC to let them know. (Want to buy my complete set of everything Firefly? It’s Dirt cheap!)