Ayanna Floyd, the showrunner for the Showtime series “The Chi” claims that not only was everyone well aware of actor Jason Mitchell’s misconduct on set, she also became a target of his actions.
In the series, Mitchell played Brandon, an aspiring chef. Mitchell was becoming a critical success after giving memorable performances in his breakout role as Eazy-E in “Straight Outta Compton” and in the critically acclaimed film, “Mudbound.”
However, in April, Mitchell was fired from the upcoming Netflix movie “Desperados” just before shooting began. In seemingly rapid succession, he was terminated by his agent, his manager, and his lawyer, and lastly was dropped from “The Chi.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mitchell’s termination from ‘Desperados’ was the impetus for all the terminations that followed. Sources claim that his conduct had been a problem for at least two women on the set of ‘The Chi.’ Tiffany Boone, who played his character’s girlfriend, and Floyd, the current showrunner, had both filed complaints with HR.
Despite mandatory HR training, sources told the Hollywood Reporter the alleged conduct persisted, and Boone asked to be released from the series. However, Mitchell was to remain for a planned season three, sources claimed, despite show creator Lena Waithe’s activism on the subject of on-set safety.
In a June 2018 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, Waithe said, “If you want to play that game and be disrespectful or misbehave on set with an actress or anyone, I’ll happily call Showtime and say, ‘This person has to go,’ and you will get shot up, and it’ll be a wonderful finale.”
But in a statement sent to THR, Ms. Floyd directly challenged Waithe. “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,” Floyd said. “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.”
In regards to the Netflix film, sources say the actor began making actresses uncomfortable almost as soon as he arrived in Mexico (for filming). He also had some troubles on the set of “Kong: Skull Island” in Honolulu, after he got into a bar fight while on location that required serious medical attention. The actor was assigned a chaperone and executives warned him to stay out of bars, but he did not listen.
“As showrunner, I did everything I could to deal with his behavior, by speaking with the studio’s HR department multiple times and instructing one actress to call HR herself, before I became a target of his rage and inappropriateness, and had to report him to HR, as well,” Floyd said.
In the wake of the claims, Waithe also spoke out, saying, “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,” she said, highlighting the actresses’ strength.