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September 21, 2019

'Otherhood' Actress Afton Williamson Responds after 'Rookie' Harassment Probe Finds No Wrongdoing

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Former "The Rookie" actress Afton Williamson expressed her heartbreak over the results of an investigation that found her sexual assault claims meritless. She claims deception and lies were made to "Cover Up the Truth." 

Afton Williamson vowed to continue her fight to right the wrongs in the industry in the heels of what she deemed a “heartbreaking” end to an investigation that dismissed her sexual harassment case

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In a disappointing turn for Williamson, an investigation conducted over her claims of sexual assault, harassment, and bullying in the hands of her co-workers on “The Rookie,” found her allegations meritless.   

Last month, the actress accused the show’s department head, Sally Nicole Ciganovich and recurring guest actor, Demetrius Grosse of these acts, prompting the program’s production studio, Entertainment One to hire an independent company to conduct an investigation and Williamson to leave the show. 

“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.”

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THE RESULTS OF THE INVESTIGATION

On September 17, it was announced that the investigation found no basis for Williamson’s allegations. A statement released by Entertainment One read,

“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.”

Moreover, the company maintained that Williamson’s case was handled by the show’s producers and its showrunner, Alexi Hawley “promptly and in a fair and reasonable manner.”

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“No one should publish serious allegations like these in such a reckless manner. Demetrius lost multiple jobs as a result of being falsely accused.”

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WILLIAMSON'S RESPONSE

In response to the investigation’s end, Williamson took to her Instagram to express her disappointment and her next steps. 

“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,” began her lengthy message. 

“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.”

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Williamson goes on to say that by speaking her truth and standing up for herself, it “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.”

She adds that it is her prayer “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 the end, she vows to “Continue to Work so that Casts & Crews alike finally See Words Align With Action.”

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“We’ve got to Do Better as an Industry. It’s just Talk until you actually Do Something,” she concludes. 

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A STATEMENT FROM GROSSE'S CAMP

Meanwhile, Grosse expressed his relief at being exonerated from Williamson’s claims. Through a statement sent by his attorney to the Los Angeles Times, he said,

“We’re glad that the investigation has been completed and are grateful to eOne for its unwavering support. Onward."

The statement also expressed dismay over the libelous claims against Grosse that tarnished his name before they could even be verified. 

“My client was libeled all over the media before any of the claims could even be verified,” said attorney Andrew Brettler.  “No one should publish serious allegations like these in such a reckless manner. Demetrius lost multiple jobs as a result of being falsely accused.”

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