“The Rookie” Season 2: Afton Williamson Not Returning; Alleges Discrimination, Bullying, Sexual Harassment & Sexual Assault

While fans of ABC‘s The Rookie are eagerly awaiting the show’s second-season return on its new night starting Sunday, September 29, series co-star Afton Williamson has taken to Instagram to announce that she will not be returning for a second season. In the post, the actress claims she quit the Nathan Fillion-starrer because of “racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments” as well as instances of bullying and sexual harassment. Williamson also alleges that instances of inappropriate behavior by the hair department and a “recurring guest star” were reported to executive producer/showrunner Alexi Hawley but her claims were never formally investigated – and that one instance of sexual harassment escalated to sexual assault at the series’ wrap party before the overall matter was addressed.

The Rookie Season 1 Episode 18 - All Is Not Quiet On The "Homefront"
(ABC/Tony Rivetti)

Williamson – whose Talia Bishop was John Nolan’s (Fillion) training officer – says her decision to leave the series came when she realized that her claims were never take up the proper Human Resources channels to be vetted, and that the recurring guest star she named was allowed to return to the show.

ABC, Hawley and The Rookie producer Entertainment One had no comment at the time of this writing. Here’s a look at Williamson’s original post:

the rookie

“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 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.The Sexual 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 sexual 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 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. 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” :heart::pray::skin-tone-4:

About Ray Flook

Proudly serving as TV Editor, Ray started with Bleeding Cool in 2013 as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought aboard as staff in 2017. Counting John Cusack as his pop culture "spirit animal," his "word fu" stays strong as he continues trying really hard to be the sheppard...