'The Rookie' Investigation Finds No Inappropriate Behavior Following Afton Williamson's Allegations

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The Rookie
ABC

An independent investigation into allegations made by The Rookie star Afton Williamson found that there was no inappropriate behavior.

In a statement issued Tuesday by Entertainment One (eOne), the studio that produces the ABC police procedural, it was concluded by third-party investigator, EXTTI, which specializes in investigations into "allegations of harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace," that the parties named in Williamson's claims "did not conduct themselves in an unlawful manner or demonstrate behavior inappropriate for the workplace."

"It was also concluded that the executive producers, including showrunner Alexi Hawley, addressed matters of which they were made aware promptly and in a fair and reasonable manner," read the statement from eOne (in full below).

"We recognize and respect that as individuals, the lens through which we view situations, interactions and comments, can differ based on our experiences and perspectives," the statement continued. "As such, we regret that Ms. Williamson’s time on the series was not a positive one for her, and we respect her decision to move on to other projects."

An ABC spokesperson issued a response to eOne's findings, telling ET in a statement on Tuesday, "We are glad that eOne has completed an investigation into allegations on the set of The Rookie. We are confident that eOne takes these matters seriously and that they will continue to look for the best ways to surface concerns and address complaints."

Williamson took to Instagram Tuesday evening to address the latest developments.

"What saddens me the most is that the lengths that were taken to Deceive, Lie, and Cover Up the Truth, were far greater than those made to Protect and Maintain a Safe Working Environment for Employees," Williamson claims in the caption to her Instagram pic. "It’s Heartbreaking for everyone on that set; Past and Present. And for every Actor out there who Stands in the Face Of Harassment and Discrimination, Assault and Injustice."

"My prayer is that we get to a point in this Industry where we don’t just Talk about it in 2 hour Mandatory Meetings. But we adhere to Keeping the Promises Made to Everyone on every set, Tirelessly Fulfilling their Dreams with Passion and Dedication," Williams added in her post. "In order to Be the Change, I want to see, I will Continue to Work so that Casts & Crews alike finally See Words Align With Action. We’ve got to Do Better as an Industry. It’s just Talk until you actually Do Something."

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What saddens me the most is that the lengths that were taken to Deceive, Lie, and Cover Up the Truth, were far greater than those made to Protect and Maintain a Safe Working Environment for Employees. It’s Heartbreaking for everyone on that set; Past and Present. And for every Actor out there who Stands in the Face Of Harassment and Discrimination, Assault and Injustice. As a Black Woman, an Artist, an Actor, in 2019. My Speaking the Truth, Standing up for myself, and Leaving an Unsafe Work Environment, Changed things for a lot of people: Black Women, Artists, Actors, Victims, and Survivors of Injustice and Discrimination; Gave Hope and a Promise that things Will Change; that things ARE CHANGING. And that is Not in Vain. My prayer is that we get to a point in this Industry where we don’t just Talk about it in 2 hour Mandatory Meetings. But we adhere to Keeping the Promises Made to Everyone on every set, Tirelessly Fulfilling their Dreams with Passion and Dedication. In order to Be the Change, I want to see, I will Continue to Work so that Casts & Crews alike finally See Words Align With Action. We’ve got to Do Better as an Industry. It’s just Talk until you actually Do Something. ❤️

A post shared by Afton Williamson (@therealaftonw) on

Over the summer Williamson abruptly left The Rookie, where she played training officer Talia Bishop to Nathan Fillion's rookie cop John Nolan.

On Aug. 4, Williamson shared in great detail the reasons for her departure, claiming racial discrimination from the hair department (which allegedly escalated to sexual assault at the season one wrap party), sexual harassment from a recurring guest star whom she later identified and a lack of action from the show's production team. 

"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," Williamson alleged in the Instagram post.

The actress claimed she was only asked to participate in an investigation following a meeting she called in June after the show had been renewed for a second season. According to Williamson, the meeting involved Hawley, two producers, her agent and a SAG-AFTRA union rep, and "it was clear to all present in the meeting that [Hawley] had not shared my reports with the any of the producers."

"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," Williamson wrote. "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."

A spokesperson for ABC Studios released a statement to ET responding to Williamson's claims and their handling of the situation. "The allegations involve a production from Entertainment One. In late June, eOne made us aware and informed us that they launched an investigation that is ongoing," the statement read. "The safety of working environments is a top priority for us, and we take this matter very seriously."

ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke addressed Williamson's allegations on Aug. 5, admitting she didn't "have a lot of answers" but said the network would make a "determination based on what is found out."

Read the full statement issued by eOne on Tuesday below.

We are today addressing the findings of the investigation initiated as a result of the claims made by actor Afton Williamson regarding our series The Rookie. The investigation was commissioned via law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP who engaged third-party firm EXTTI, recognized for their extensive expertise in investigating allegations of harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. 

We take all allegations of inappropriate conduct very seriously, particularly when the allegations involve discrimination or sexual harassment of any nature. We appreciate the cooperation of all those who were interviewed, including Ms. Williamson, the individuals she identified by name, and several other relevant production and staff members.

The investigation encompassed nearly 400 hours of interviews and review of evidence, involving a significant amount of material, including video, that was provided to and examined by the investigator. 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 behavior inappropriate for the workplace. It was also concluded that the executive producers, including showrunner Alexi Hawley, addressed matters of which they were made aware promptly and in a fair and reasonable manner.  

We recognize and respect that as individuals, the lens through which we view situations, interactions and comments, can differ based on our experiences and perspectives. As such, we regret that Ms. Williamson’s time on the series was not a positive one for her, and we respect her decision to move on to other projects. 

We continue to focus on fostering a safe and respectful work environment for all our corporate and production employees and further reinforce our policies and procedures. To protect the privacy of all those interviewed, the investigator’s report will not be available publicly.

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