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Afton Williamson Responds After The Rookie Harassment Investigation Finds No Wrongdoing

A lengthy probe found no inappropriate behavior, according to the studio that produces the show

malcolmvenable.jpg
Malcolm Venable

Afton Williamson has responded to the results of eOne's investigation into allegations she made of sexual harassment and racial bullying on the set of The Rookie. In an Instagram post shared Tuesday evening, Williamson wrote, "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 shared. "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."

While the investigation claimed no unlawful or inappropriate behavior took place, Williamson declared that her "speaking the truth ... changed things for a lot of people" and noted it not only provided a hope things will change but "that things ARE CHANGING. And that is Not in Vain."

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"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," Williamson continued. "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."


On Tuesday, it was announced that an investigation by production company Entertainment One (eOne) into claims of racial and sexual harassment on the set of The Rookiefound the allegations made by Williamson, who left the show earlier this year, were not consistent with their findings and no unlawful or inappropriate behavior took place.

"We take all allegations of inappropriate conduct very seriously, particularly when the allegations involve discrimination or sexual harassment of any nature," the company said in a statement. "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."

Williamson posted a lengthy statement Instagram in August declaring she was leaving the show after racially motivated bullying and sexual harassment, later naming individuals who allegedly harassed her at work. In response, Entertainment One, which produces The Rookie, said it hired law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp to investigate her claims. That firm, eOne said, brought in another firm named EXTTI, which conducted 400 hours of interviews and evidence review.

Afton Williamson's allegations, explained

"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."

The statement stopped short of accusing Williamson of not telling the truth, acknowledging instead that perceptions might have differed. "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," reads the statement.

eOne's full statement is 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.

The Rookie Season 2 premieres on ABC on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 10/9c.

This post has been updated to include Williamson's response