Lena Waithe Addresses Jason Mitchell Misconduct Allegations: "I Trusted Someone Else To Do My Job"
Jason Mitchell was recently terminated from the Showtime series The Chi for alleged misconduct.
Waithe called The Breakfast Club on Thursday, where she said that the issues between Mitchell and castmate Tiffany Boone had been resolved through “interventions by Human Resources that included sexual harassment training and the insertion of women in positions of power,” according to Deadline. Mitchell was accused of unspecific inappropriate behavior with Boone.
“I’m hearing that the set is completely different…and then I get a call from Ayanna (Floyd Davis, the show runner) saying that things are persisting, not a lot has changed in that area, but you can’t reach out, you’ve gotta sit tight, HR has to handle it,” Waithe said. “And my biggest regret is that I should have just said, ‘Forget that,’ and not trusted anybody to do my job and just reached out to Tiffany on my own, like, ‘Yo, what’s going on? What can I do? What can Lena do?’ And instead, I trusted someone else to do my job.”
Waithe also claimed she wasn’t made aware of Mitchell’s alleged actions until after the first season wrapped.
However, Floyd Davis claimed that she heard about the actor’s troubles from Waithe herself.
“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,” Floyd Davis told The Hollywood Reporter. “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,” she added.
Mitchell has since been dropped from The Chi (which was recently picked up for a third season), Desperados (a Netflix film he had been cast as the lead in), and his agency and management company. Mitchell’s role on The Chi will not be recast with a different actor.