This Lethal Weapon drama just keeps getting crazier and crazier.
Warner Bros.'s firing of Clayne Crawford from Lethal Weapon due to inappropriate behavior on set caused a media storm back in May, when behind-the-scenes audio exposed some nasty truths about the infighting happening between Crawford and his co-star Damon Wayans. Throughout it all, Crawford kept pretty quiet, the exception being a public apology that he issued for his behavior. Now, he's telling his side of the story.
In an interview with a podcast called Drinkin'Bros, Crawford details how the news of his firing first broke to him through social media, and how he'd originally assumed it would all just blow over.
"It's a little different when you replace Becky or the mom off of Fresh Prince. Like it's a little — like if they'd replaced the Fresh Prince, we'd have been like what the f--- are we watching anyway? That's why I just didn't think it was possible," Crawford says of his firing, noting that to this day he's never received a phone call about not returning. "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--- back to Alabama you dumb hick, thanks for playing.'"
Crawford says when the news of the on-set issues first broke he reached out to Warner Bros. Television head Peter Roth. "He said, 'Clayne, I can't promise you that I can save your job, but what I can tell you is that you have to make a public announcement apologizing, publicly, to Damon Wayans,'" Crawford says. "I was like, "What the fu-? Peter, why would I apologize publicly because he and I had a riff on set?' And he's like, 'Clayne, that statement alone tells me you don't want to come back.'"
At the height of the controversy, Variety released a series of audio tapes and behind-the-scenes footage depicting Crawford's behavior, which was seen as the smoking gun for his termination. According to Crawford, he knew the tapes of his on-set behavior were going to get out because people involved in the show had been using them to blackmail him whenever he tried to raise issues about Wayans' own behavior on set.
"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 explains. "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.'"
In the interview, Crawford attempts to explain the footage where he was caught belligerently yelling at someone off-screen in between takes. As Crawford tells it, they were shooting a three-page scene for eight hours, and they were extremely behind after production had to stop seven times because of noise. Crawford says there was not a pool, nor were there any children involved in the incident (that was a "blatant f---ing lie," he says). He was yelling at the first AD whose job it was to keep things quiet on set.
"I snapped," Crawford admits. "Should I have gone to my trailer? 100 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."
Crawford says his history in the independent film world ("If you don't pull up your f---ing bootstraps and get it done, we don't get the movie made") plus his Alabama, blue-color background where coaches would scream as a motivational tool also factored into the situation. That coupled with the "creative disrespect" of not allowing an actor in a pivotal scene to get his work done was what Crawford says caused his outburst.
As for the audio recording in which he called Damon Wayans a p----, Crawford said he was not aware of that tape's existence. Ultimately, he blames the confrontation — which occurred during filming of the episode Crawford directed — on the fact that Wayans called in sick and later made it known he hadn't been unwell at all. The scheduling adjustments that had to be made as a result were incredibly frustrating for Crawford. The next day, Wayans was then hit by a piece of shrapnel during a stunt and claimed he was being "targeted." He went home and cost Crawford another day of shooting. Later, Crawford claims Wayans refused to hold a gun, have a gun pointed at him, run, jump or do any stunts because he didn't trust Crawford or the stunt team to keep him safe. An investigation later cleared Crawford and the crew of any wrongdoing. But Crawford says he never received any help from higher ups.
"I have emails begging Peter Roth to help me. Radio silence," says Crawford.
Honestly, the amount of dirty laundry getting aired about this Lethal Weapon dust up seems never-ending, but ultimately Crawford says he wanted to get his side of the story out there. "The only reason I'm doing this is because every time — it's August and any time they talk about the show, it's my image, my f---ing name, to promote their goddamn show."
Lethal Weapon will return Tuesday, September 25 at 9/8c on Fox.