Afton Williamson Named Names In A Post Detailing Why She Left ABC’s “The Rookie” After Being Sexually Harassed And Assaulted

August 6, 2019 / Posted by:

You don’t walk away from a leading role on a popular network drama unless you have a very good reason. Unfortunately, Afton Williamson who plays Talia Bishop on ABC’s The Rookie had several good reasons to bounce. Afton announced she won’t be returning for the show’s second season with an Instagram post. Afton claims she quit because she was sexually harassed by a recurring guest star and faced racial discrimination, harassment, and was sexually assaulted by the show’s lead hairdresser. And though she reported the incidents to HR and showrunner Alexi Hawley, she was still asked to act opposite Demetrius Grosse, the actor she claims sexually harassed her. Even though she was previously told he had been fired! So now she’s naming names, saying “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” proving that ignoring workplace harassment in this day and age, is a real rookie mistake.

Here’s Afton’s post detailing her reasons for leaving The Rookie and naming Demetrius as the person who sexually harassed her, and hair department head Sally Nicole Ciganovich as the person she was “racially bullied and discriminated against and sexually assaulted by”, with the alleged assault occurring during the show’s wrap party.

View this post on Instagram

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,Demetrius Grosse,and the racist commentary & bullying from the Hair Dept.Head, Sally Ciganovich 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.Ciganovich 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 Grosse 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. Grosse 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 Grosse 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” ❤️🙏🏽

A post shared by Afton Williamson (@therealaftonw) on

I  still can’t get over the producers telling her that Demetrius had been fired then handing her a script asking her to do scenes with her alleged abuser. No wonder she’s gone full fuck ya’ll. It sounds like there was some Andrea Zuckerman-level mishandling of the situation, all the way up the chain. According to Entertainment Tonight:

News that Williamson would be leaving the series first broke in late July. Her character, TO Talia Bishop, was a significant character during the show’s first season, becoming a mentor to Nathan Fillion’s John Nolan.

Williamson, in her first post addressing her decision to quit, claimed that she went through the proper channels when she became the target of the alleged misconduct, but that her concerns went unheard.

“The Sexual Harassment though reported directly to the Showrunner/EP [Alexi Hawley] remained undocumented and was not reported to HR as promised,” Williams wrote. “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.”

ABC claims that the show’s production company, Entertainment One informed them they were conducting an internal investigation back in June (an investigation that is still ongoing). ABC President Karey Burke says she’s confident the investigation will be done properly.

“I can trust the investigation because it’s being done by a third party. I’m hopeful that those results are independent and trustworthy and anticipate that they will be. Those conclusions will help guide us in future… as far as communications,” Burke said Monday. “We have an HR partner that is available to every single one of our shows… I would hope someone on that set would feel comfortable going to the HR partner on that show.”

But she did go to HR! And also, if the show’s own production company is doing the investigation, how is that a third party? What, did the production company turn around and farm it out to Geico or some shit? What a load of crap. Meanwhile, Afton’s thankful for the support she’s received and is focused on the future.

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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, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual 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 sexually harassed by fellow actor Demetrius Grosse. I was Racially Bullied and Discriminated against and Sexually Assaulted by Hair Department Head Sally Nicole Ciganovich. Let’s BE the CHANGE we WANT to SEE❤️👊🏾🙏🏾

A post shared by Afton Williamson (@therealaftonw) on

And as for Demetrius and Sally Nicole, neither of them have made themselves available for comment but Demetrius is going the age-old route of emphasizing his status as family man in the face of the allegations.

View this post on Instagram

Proud of us.

A post shared by DemetriusGrosse-IG (@demetriusgrosse) on

This was posted the same day as Afton’s revelation. That baby’s like, “This is the last time you’re gonna use me as a human shield. The last time!


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