Last week, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news about misconduct allegations surrounding actor The Chi star Jason Mitchell by his co-stars on The Chi and on a Netflix film Desperados. After he was dropped from Desperados, Mitchell was subsequently dropped by his representatives and The Chi. Today The Hollywood Reporter published an extensive report, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the scandal.
It includes statements from The Chi showrunner Ayanna Floyd Davis (who, in this report, is revealed to not be returning for the show's third season) and creator/executive producer, Lena Waithe, as well as sources close to both of them, the show and its respective studios (S&A has reached out to both Davis and Waithe for comment as well).
Though Mitchell was first terminated from his latest project, the Netflix film Desperados, at least two actresses on The Chi, including Tiffany Boone (who plays the girlfriend to Mitchell's character) and Davis herself had already filed complaints against Mitchell for his behavior on the two seasons of the Showtime show. The THR report says, “Despite HR training, these sources say, the alleged conduct persisted and Boone asked to be released from the show. But Mitchell was to remain for a planned season three, sources say, despite Waithe’s activism on the subject of on-set safety."
Sources close to Waithe told THR that the creator, who is not involved with the day-to-day aspects of the show, was unaware of Mitchell's behavior until after the first season wrapped. "Concern for on-set conduct, the source continues, was among the reasons Waithe pushed for a woman of color (Floyd) as showrunner for the second season. Still, this person [a THR source] initially stated that Waithe did not know the alleged conduct had continued."
Davis, however, says something different, telling THR, “When I took the helm in season two, it was Lena who informed me of the issues between Jason Mitchell and Tiffany Boone from season one, and that Tiffany was thinking of leaving the show because of it. As a result of this information, I discussed Tiffany’s claims with the studio’s HR department and set up HR presentations for the writers, cast and crew. Ultimately, everyone was well aware of Jason’s behavior and his multiple HR cases, including Lena, the creator and an executive producer of the show, who is very involved at the studio and network level. As showrunner, I did everything I could to deal with his behavior, by speaking with the studio’s HR department multiple times and instructing one actress to call HR herself, before I became a target of his rage and inappropriateness, and had to report him to HR, as well."
In her statement to THR, Waithe says, “I think Tiffany is a wonderful actress and an extremely brave woman. I wish her nothing but success in the future. I look forward to getting back to work on season three.” The THR report continues, “Told of Floyd’s statement, the source close to Waithe said the showrunner did inform Waithe of the ongoing conduct, but said she would handle it."
As far as the Netflix film, Desperados, it is reported that "the actor began making actresses uncomfortable almost as soon as he arrived in Mexico, where the film is now shooting." That film is set to star Anna Camp, Nasim Pedrad, Robbie Amell and Lamorne Morris (who replaced Mitchell).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the brass behind The Chi is currently figuring out how to handle the ousting of Mitchell in the show's upcoming third season.
Shadow And Act reached out to both Davis and Waithe for further comment on this new report. The former is not providing additional comment at this time.
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