Lethal Weapon star Clayne Crawford was fired in May after it was revealed that he was reprimanded twice for his on-set behavior, and in a candid new interview, the actor bluntly tells his side of the story.
Crawford appeared on the podcast Drinkin' Bros. -- his first interview since his premature exit from the Fox show -- and claims he was never even informed with a phone call that he had been officially fired, but rather, learned of his firing through social media. Crawford, who played troubled cop Martin Riggs on Lethal Weapon, was one of the two main stars on the series alongside Damon Wayans, who played his straight-laced partner, Roger Murtaugh.
"It's a little different when you replace Becky or the mom off of Fresh Prince. Like, if they'd replaced the Fresh Prince, we'd have been like, what the f**k are we watching anyway? That's why I just didn't think it was possible," Crawford comments. "I just didn't think they were going to get rid of me, I guess. And if they did, I thought they'd give me a buzz... just a jangle? Just grab two cans and a string and just be like, 'You're not coming back. We feel like this is the Damon Wayans Show and people just don't like you. So go the f**k back to Alabama you dumb hick, thanks for playing.'"
As for the leaked tapes Variety published that captured 40-year-old Crawford yelling profanities during an on-set outburst, the actor claims he was previously blackmailed with the release of the tapes when he would complain about Wayans' own behavior. Variety reported at the time that Crawford became particularly “frustrated” while shooting at a public pool in Los Angeles, partly due to children at the pool -- which was supposed to be closed to the public -- creating background noise.
"I snapped," Crawford recalls of the incident, though insists that it's a "blatant f**king lie" that he ever yelled at children. "Should I have gone to my trailer? One hundred percent. Should I have just gone and waited? That's what I was instructed to do when there was a problem -- you go sit in your trailer and you lock your door and you take a nap. ... Hollywood is very sensitive, so I should not have screamed and yelled, right, because it's a bunch of very delicate flowers out there."
"I knew that they were going to release these tapes because they'd been blackmailing me with them for months and months and months, the entire second season," Crawford alleges, also claiming that Wayans was behind the negative stories about him prior to his firing. "And I have all the text messages from these people and voicemails from these people saying, 'Obviously you're not the problem, but you've got to get ahead of this because you know they're going to use those tapes against you.'"
Crawford says he was also encouraged to publicly apologize to Wayans by Warner Bros. studio president Peter Roth in order to save his job.
"I can't apologize to this guy," Crawford says of his mentality at the time towards 57-year-old Wayans. "He has made life miserable for me on this show. And I also feel like they're already moving forward. I feel like if I apologize, they're going to use that to justify this poor decision they're making in supporting his bad behavior and his ego."
Warner Bros. has not sent out a statement regarding Crawford's allegations.
Clearly, there's no love lost between Wayans and Crawford. In May, Wayans alleged Crawford caused his bloody on-set injury and "relished in making females cry" after some fans slammed Wayans following the news that Crawford has been replaced by actor Seann William Scott. He also alleged that Crawford hit another actor in the mouth with a bottle.
“He became UNINSURABLE!" Wayans tweeted in part, before deleting his tweets. "Relished in making females cry. And stuck fear in cast and crew. #dontblameme.”
Last week, Lethal Weapondebuted its first promo for season three, giving fans their first look at Scott in the series. Scott will play Wesley Cole, the new partner to Wayans' Murtaugh.
Lethal Weapon returns Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
For more on the drama surrounding the show, watch the video below:
'Lethal Weapon': Seann William Scott Steps in for Clayne Crawford in First Season 3 Promo
New 'Lethal Weapon' Set Footage Captures Nasty Confrontation Between Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford
Damon Wayans Alleges Clayne Crawford Caused On-Set 'Lethal Weapon' Injury, 'Relished in Making Females Cry'