ABC’s cop drama had a rocky ride after cast member Afton Williamson, who starred as training officer Talia Bishop, quit after alleging that she was subjected to bullying, racism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault while working on the eone produced drama series.
The producer of the series had to call for an investigation to look into her claims. For the uninitiated, the series revolves around John Nolan, a man in his forties, who becomes the oldest rookie at the Los Angeles Police Department.
- Why did Afton Williamson quit the show?
- Who replaced Afton Williamson in ‘The Rookie’?
Based on real-life Los Angeles Police Department officer William Bill Norcross, who moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and joined the department in his mid-40s, the show first premiered on October 16, 2018.
The hit crime series stars Nathan Fillion, Mekia Cox, Alyssa Diaz, Richard T. Jones, Titus Makin Jr., Eric Winter, Melissa O’Neil, Afton Williamson, Shawn Ashmore, and Mercedes Mason.
Why did Afton Williamson quit the show?
Williamson decided to quit the show after alleging that she was racially bullied and sexually harassed by members of the cast and crew.
In a lengthy Instagram post, the actress announced that she would not be returning to ‘The Rookie’ for its second season.
Explaining the reason behind her decision, Williamson wrote: “Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from executive producers.”
The actress, 34, first laid her finger on the head of the show’s hair department, Sallie Ciganovich, claiming Ciganovich made racist comments about her. Without detailing the alleged incident, she also accused Ciganovich of sexual assault claiming it happened at the show’s season 1 wrap party.
Not just Ciganovich, she also threw Demetrius Grosse’s name into the mix and claimed that the recurring ‘The Rookie’ guest star had “sexually harassed” her, too.
The actress also claimed that the showrunner failed to pass along her complaint to ABC’s human resources team despite their “promise”.
However, despite several claims, eOne insisted that there was no inappropriate behaviour on the set.
“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 behaviour inappropriate for the workplace”
eOne told USA TODAY.
Williamson wrote in her Instagram response that her speaking the truth and quitting an unsafe environment changed things for a lot of people like Black women, artists, actors, victims, and survivors of injustice.
Who replaced Afton Williamson in ‘The Rookie’?
Amidst the increasing number of news reports around Williamson’s claim of being a victim to sexual assault, the show returned on ABC and quickly addressed Talia’s departure. Williamson announced that she would not be returning to the cop drama amidst her allegations of being a victim of harassment and bullying on set.
Meanwhile, Mekia Cox joined the series as a new training officer by the name Nyla Harper after the departure of Williamson’s Talia Bishop.
Nyla Harper stands as a new challenge for officer Nolan in season 2’s episode titled “Warriors and Guardians”. Harper and Nolan both get off to a rocky start, due to Harper’s background as an undercover detective.
Prior to her ‘The Rookie’ run, Mekia Cox’s TV credits included ‘Once Upon a Time’ and ‘Chicago Med’.