‘The Chi’: Lena Waithe Responds to Claims That She Knew About Jason Mitchell’s Misconduct
As a result of these allegations, Mitchell will no longer be a part of the show.
What allegations have been brought up against Mitchell?
Tiffany Boone, who plays Mitchell’s girlfriend on the show, along with several other actresses, has made complaints of sexual harassment against Mitchell.
The actress allegedly felt so unsafe at times that she would have her fiance, Marque Richardson, come to set when she would have to film with Mitchell, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Boone eventually informed Fox 21 producers that she could no longer work with Mitchell and was allowed out of her contract
Did Lena Waithe know about the misconduct?
Lena Waithe, the creator of the show, has received backlash for not doing more about Mitchell sooner.
She recently went on The Breakfast Club to address these claims and what really went on on set.
Waithe claimed that she had been made aware of the allegations against Mitchell after the first season of the show. To combat this, she hired Ayanna Floyd as the showrunner for the second season. She believed that hiring a black woman as the showrunner would have created a safer environment for the actresses on set.
“Not to say that women are exempt from doing things, but I think it would make it a safer environment,” Waithe said. “That was my assumption.”
But Mitchell’s behavior didn’t change.
“I don’t regret making a black woman a showrunner,” she continued. “I do regret trusting her to handle it all by herself.”
What did Waithe do when she heard the allegations?
In addition to bringing on a new showrunner in between seasons, Waithe also spoke to Mitchell about his conduct.
“There was definitely a conversation where I called him and got really real,” she told the radio show hosts. “‘You need to be respectful of any woman on set. You need to be respectful of everybody. Don’t treat any woman differently the way you would treat me.'”
But ultimately, Waithe’s hands were kind of tied as she doesn’t have the final say over the cast.
“I don’t have the power to fire anyone,” Waithe said. “I don’t. I wish I did. I don’t own The Chi. I created it. I sold it. I could be fired off The Chi… People don’t understand that.”
What does Waithe have to say to critics?
Though her methods of solving the issue didn’t end up working, Waithe doesn’t feel like she stood by while Mitchell terrorized his costars.
“For anyone to say I would stand by while a woman is being mistreated or harassed and not doing anything is just not true,” she continued. “I was trying to put people in power to change, but ultimately that wasn’t the answer, I’m always the answer and that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned in all of this.”
“I wish I would’ve handled the situation differently, and I wish I would’ve done more,” she said.