In an interview promoting the second season of Showtime’s SMILF on The Today Show, the show’s creator, Frankie Shaw, responded to the allegations that she had behaved inappropriately on set. “I’m really glad you asked me,” Shaw said, when Hoda Kotb brought up the reports, and specifically mentioned that actress Samara Weaving is leaving the show after claiming her contract was breached in filming sex scenes. “This was my first time doing this job, and we moved fast and I was learning on the go,” Shaw said. “I’m just really grateful that I can take these lessons and be more of an aware and attuned showrunner moving forward.”
Rosie O’Donnell, who plays Shaw’s character’s mother on the series, also appeared on the Today interview. Once Shaw spoke, she interjected: “It’s a beautiful set, I have to say. There’s a family feel on the set.” “The great thing about Frankie is she addressed the stuff and the network did and everybody’s okay, and here we go,” O’Donnell added. According to THR’s report, O’Donnell had originally contacted Showtime executives to bring up issues on set, specifically Shaw’s treatment of Weaving. Weaving has claimed that Shaw insisted on turning on monitors while she was filming a sex scene after agreeing to a closed set and that Shaw pressured her into filming a nude scene despite a no-nudity clause in her contract.
In the interview, Shaw also said she was “really proud” of the work the show has done, mentioning that the show hired an approximately 50 percent female crew in Boston, and almost exclusively female directors, including Kerry Washington. Kotb said Today had reached out to ABC Studios, which produces SMILF, and Showtime, who said they were reviewing claims involving SMILF but did not provide a statement on the matter.
Update: Later on Wednesday, Shaw also appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers, and was asked about the misconduct allegations at the end of her interview (the question begins around 3:30). “I’ve learned so much, there are so many lessons,” she said. “I went from making short films in my basement to running a crew of over 215 people, and there’s a lot of lessons along the way. I’m right now thinking about a better structure for communication and how to delegate more and have a team around me, and thinking about how everyone can feel seen and heard.” After Shaw spoke, Meyers supported her, and pointed out that “at no point in show business is there a management meeting. No one ever teaches you how to be a manager. I hope all networks just take this as an opportunity to be like, ‘Oh, we have to make sure people who are in charge understand that responsibility.’”