EXCLUSIVE: Carly Hughes has departed ABC comedy series American Housewife, where she was a series regular for the first four seasons, alleging toxic environment and discrimination as reasons for her exit. Hughes left after the end of Season 4. She was featured in the Season 5 premiere, the bulk of which was shot before the March production shutdown because of the pandemic. Beginning with Episode 2, her name no longer appeared in the opening credits.
“I was no longer able to work in the toxic environment that was created on American Housewife,” Hughes said in a statement to Deadline. “I made the decision to leave to protect myself from that type of discrimination. As a black woman in entertainment, I feel the responsibility to stand up for what I deserve, what we all deserve — to be treated equally. I wish the show well, and I am excited for a new chapter and to be able to pursue the opportunities ahead.”
According to sources, the allegations made by Hughes, the only Black series regular on American Housewife, triggered an extensive HR investigation by ABC Signature, which also looked into other claims from production team members. Following the probe, American Housewife creator Sarah Dunn is no longer an active producer on the show, Mark J. Greenberg stepped down as line producer, and showrunners Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz underwent sensitivity training.
“Carly was a valued member of the cast, and we had hoped she would return to the show this season,” a spokesperson for American Housewife said. “The concerns she raised led to positive changes to the workplace and improvements to the culture, but we respect the decision she made to move on. We wish her nothing but the best.”
On American Housewife, Hughes played Angela, one of Katie’s (Katy Mixon) only real friends in Westport, along with Doris (Ali Wong). The trio got “second breakfast” together almost every day to gossip and work through their problems.
Her departure is one of two cast changes on the comedy heading into Season 5. The Anna-Kat role was recast with Giselle Eisenberg as Julia Butters exited the show. Meanwhile, Holly Robinson Peete is joining the series in a major recurring role as a close friend of Katie’s (Mixon).
Hughes is known for her work on Broadway, where she has appeared in eight shows, most recently starring as Velma Kelly in Chicago, The Leading Player in Pippin and Lucille/Shirley of the Shirelles in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. On TV, she also recurred on the Netflix series Insatiable. Hughes next will be seen headlining the Lifetime movie The Christmas Edition, set for premiere this Sunday, November 15.