Last week, actor Jason Mitchell was dropped from season three of The Chi as well as the Netflix movie Desperados following accusations of misconduct. Underscoring the seriousness of the situation, he was also dropped by his agency, UTA. There were no details given at the time, though a producer for Desperados said they “received information about an alleged off-set incident.” Today, The Chi showrunner Ayanna Floyd is sharing experiences she had with Mitchell on the set of the Showtime show and claiming that producer and creator Lena Waithe was made aware of complaints against the actor prior to his initially being kept on for the show’s third season. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Floyd says Waithe was informed of Mitchell’s conduct during season one, but he was still written in to return regardless, before being cut last week.
“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.”
Boone played the girlfriend of Mitchell’s character, and when he remained on The Chi after her complaints to HR, she asked to be released from the series. Ford, too, says she “became a target of his rage and inappropriateness.” A source connected to Waithe says she was only made aware of accusations against Mitchell after the first season wrapped production and was not aware that it continued after he was allowed to keep working. (Though, again, he was still slated to return for season three.) Waithe told THR in a statement, “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.”
Showtime, meanwhile, maintains that it was not made aware of the problem until Mitchell was fired, because the show falls under the domain of the production company Fox 21. As for Desperados, Mitchell is alleged to have made “highly inappropriate remarks to two actresses in the film while lingering close to their quarters.” Elwood Reid, who was showrunner during season one, declined to comment.