Series creator Lena Waithe has spoken out about the firing of Jason Mitchell from the next season of the Showtime drama series The Chi, saying she should have stepped in sooner when hearing about troubles on the set.
Waithe was speaking on the syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club when she was asked about her role in the firing of Mitchell, who was accused of unspecific inappropriate behavior with Tiffany Boone, a female cast member on The Chi. Mitchell has since been dropped by his agency, UTA; management company, Authentic Talent & Literary Management; a Netflix movie he had been cast in as a lead, Desperados; and The Chi, which was recently picked up for a third season.
Mitchell was an in-demand actor following his breakout role as Eazy E in Straight Outta Compton. On The Chi, Mitchell played Brandon, a popular young man striving to better himself and open his own restaurant.
Waithe told The Breakfast Club that the issues between Mitchell and his castmate were thought to have been resolved after interventions by Human Resources that included sexual harassment training and the insertion of women in positions of power.
However, things took a turn, Waithe said, after initial reports of smooth sailing. “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. 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.”
Floyd-Davis has contradicted Waithe’s account in previous interviews, claiming that she heard about troubles on the set from Waithe herself.
Waithe said Mitchell’s role will not be recast with a different actor. She also said Boone requested to be let out of her contract and will not be returning for Season 3.