Afton Williamson Left 'The Rookie' Over Claims of Racial Discrimination and Harassment
The hit ABC show The Rookie premiered its second season on Sept. 29, and fans were stunned that a familiar face on the show was missing. The premise of the show centers on Nathan Fillion's character, John Nolan, who joins the LAPD at the age of 45, making him the oldest-ever rookie on the squad. Afton Williamson starred as Talia Bishop, a training officer who took on Nolan and had aspirations to one day become the chief of police.
Talia was written off the show, and fans are wondering why Afton Williamson chose to leave the well-rated TV show in its prime. Afton is now speaking out about several incidents of racial discrimination that she experienced while filming the first season. Why did Talia leave The Rookie? Details on Afton's statement regarding her exit, and what happened to her character in the wake of her absence.
Why did Talia leave The Rookie?
Afton Williamson's exit from The Rookie is causing a stir online, as the actress is claiming that she was racially discriminated against and sexually harassed, which led her to remove herself from the show's environment.
The actress opened up about her exit on Instagram with a lengthy post about how this discrimination stemmed from the hair and makeup departments on the show.
"I will not be returning for Season 2 of The Rookie. I owe it to you, my amazing fans, to share the truth," she wrote. "Throughout the filming of the pilot, I experienced racial discrimination/racially charged inappropriate comments from the hair department and bullying from Executive Producers."
In her caption, Afton accused a co-star — who was a recurring guest star on the show — of sexual harassment. She said that she reported his behavior, but that nothing was done to get him off the show, or to even prevent her from having to film with him.
She also accused the head of the hair department of the show of sexually assaulting her at the Season 1 wrap party. She noted that the head of the hair department was subsequently fired from the show.
Afton said that she felt compelled to leave the show because her complaints were not taken seriously, and she was concerned that nothing would be resolved ahead of Season 2.
ABC has responded to Afton's claims since the news of her exit went viral.
eOne, which is the production company used by ABC and The Rookie, released a statement about how an independent investigation is being done regarding Afton's post.
"We take claims of this nature very seriously. We have initiated an independent investigation which is ongoing and as such, it would not be appropriate to comment at this time," an eOne spokesperson said.
How did The Rookie handle Talia's absence on the Season 2 premiere?
Talia was a crucial character on the first season of the show, so her absence would have to be explained. But, the show didn't go into too much detail about where Talia went, just that she had taken a job elsewhere. Talia's exit from the LAPD was discussed in a scene between John Nolan and his girlfriend, Jessica Russo (Sarah Shahi).
"Taking that job with ATF was smart," Jessica says to John in the scene.
During Season 1, Talia had gotten into some trouble because she had lied about her foster brother's criminal ways on her police academy application. She had failed to include that information on her application, and that is apparently the reason for her transfer to ATF (the Bureau for alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives).
There was no further mention of Talia during the rest of the episode.
The Rookie airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC.