Actress Afton Williamson (Otherhood, Shades of Blue), a former cast member of the ABC dramedy series The Rookie, alleged that she faced sexual harassment and racial discrimination during her time on the show, leading to her resignation in August, after the claims were allegedly ignored by the higher ups. An independent investigation into the allegations just reported that it found no wrongdoing regarding these claims about the series’ set.
Entertainment One, the studio behind the cop drama, revealed that it hired law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, which then engaged third-party firm EXTTI to conduct the investigation, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The studio released a statement saying, “As a result of the independent investigation, we have concluded that those identified in Ms. Williamson’s allegations did not conduct themselves in an unlawful manner or demonstrate behavior inappropriate for the workplace.”
Williamson reported through an Instagram post in August, that she was sexually harassed by fellow actor, Demetrius Grosse, and racially bullied and sexually assaulted by the show’s hair department head, Sally Nicole Ciganovich.
After 400 hours of interviews the studio concluded that “the executive producers, including showrunner Alexi Hawley, addressed matters of which they were made aware promptly and in a fair and reasonable manner.” The investigation began in June after the studio announced that they take claims of this nature very seriously.
Andrew Brettler, the attorney for Grosse, released a statement, “Demetrius Grosse was wrongfully accused and has been exonerated of the alleged misconduct regarding his work on The Rookie. After a lengthy and thorough investigation, independent counsel concluded, unequivocally, that the allegations leveled against him where completely meritless. My client was libeled all over the media before any of the claims could even be verified. No one should publish serious allegations like these in such a reckless manner. Demetrius lost multiple jobs as a result of being falsely accused. We’re glad that the investigation has been completed and are grateful to eOne for its unwavering support. Onward.”
Williamson remarked that the investigation’s report saddens her. In another personal Instagram post, the actress wrote, “The lengths 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. It’s heartbreaking for everyone for everyone on that set; past and present.”
She went onto say in the post, “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; it gave hope and a promise that things will change; that things are changing. And that is not in vain.” The actress stressed that, “We’ve got to do better as an industry. It’s just talk until you actually do something.”
The show starring Nathon Fillion (Castle, Firefly) is scheduled to begin its second season on Sept. 29.