ABOVE PHOTO: Afton Williamson (Photo by Christian Monterrosa / Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
NEW YORK — Afton Williamson, co-star of the ABC crime series “The Rookie,” said she’s quitting the show because of sexual harassment and racial discrimination she experienced during the show’s first season.
In an Instagram post Sunday, Williamson said that throughout the filming of the show’s pilot, “I experienced racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department.”
Williamson said the treatment worsened when she was sexually harassed by a recurring guest star, bullied by executive producers and ultimately was sexually assaulted by a crew member at a wrap party.
ABC Studios responded later Sunday with a statement, largely referring to its production partners, Entertainment One.
“The allegations involve a production from Entertainment One,” the network said. “In late June, eOne made us aware and informed us that they launched an investigation that is ongoing. The safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously.”
Entertainment One, in a statement of its own, said it takes Williamson’s claims seriously. “We have initiated an independent investigation which is ongoing and as such, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time,” the production company said.
A representative for Williamson didn’t respond to messages seeking further details on the actress’s claims, or whether the alleged sexual assault was reported to the police.
Williamson, who is African American, was also highly critical of how her claims were handled by showrunner and executive producer Alexi Hawley, who is White. Williamson said she filed reports on the incidents to Hawley, but they weren’t seriously investigated by the network or shared by Hawley with other producers.
“After my initial report of sexual harassment, I was assured that the actor would be fired,” said Williamson of the guest star. “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.”
Representatives for Hawley didn’t immediately respond to messages Sunday.
Williamson co-starred in the Los Angeles-based ABC drama. In the show, Nathan Fillion stars as a rookie police officer.