Published Dec 17, 2018Following the breakout first season of Showtime TV series SMILF, creator and star Frankie Shaw has been accused of workplace misconduct and is now being investigated.
As SMILF gets ready for a fast-approaching second season next month, numerous employees of the show have reportedly made claims about inappropriately handled sex scenes, and actress Samara Weaving (who plays Nelson Rose on SMILF) is now leaving the show over an alleged breach of contract, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In a lengthy and detailed story, THR reports that the shooting of the second season had been plagued by allegations of abusive behaviour and violations of industry rules, despite the series being oversaw by both Showtime and Disney's ABC Signature Studios (which produces the show).
In addition to reportedly mishandling two sex scenes with Weaving, numerous employees have supposedly contacted Disney's anonymous tip line about an array of different issues, including allegations of separating writers by race.
Through a lawyer, 32-year-old Shaw has denied any bias, and in a statement to THR, she said the following:
I work daily to create an environment in which everyone should feel safe, and in which I can continue to grow as a leader and manager. I am now and always have been open to hearing and addressing all concerns and issues that fall within my control. It pains me to learn that anyone felt uncomfortable on my set. I sincerely hope we can work together to resolve any and all issues, as I am committed to creating a workplace in which all people feel safe and heard.
In a separate statement, ABC Studios said it is "committed to a safe work environment, and when we are made aware of issues we address them appropriately. Complaints were brought to our attention after season two production wrapped, and we are investigating. We will take appropriate steps going forward if season three is ordered."
Showtime, meanwhile, has declined to comment about the allegations.
According to the report, co-star Rosie O'Donnell brought up concerns about what THR called a "chaotic and troubled set" back in August while filming SMILF Season 2. According to sources, O'Donnell herself did not have any issues with Shaw, but she expressed concern over the treatment of Weaving, who has now reportedly left the show after she claimed her contract was breached while filming a sex scene for the show's second season.
According to THR, Weaving is said to have complained to both Disney and SAG-AFTRA "after Shaw instructed video monitors to be turned on [during the sex scene] even though the set was supposed to be closed, with only limited crew present and with outside monitors off."
THR further explained the following of how the sex scene with Weaving was handled:
Shaw was not present the day the scene was shot. However, she texted a staffer to ask how it was progressing. When told the monitors were off, she is said to have instructed that they be turned on, and producer Allyce Ozarski carried out the order. More than a dozen staffers were in the room when the unfolding scene appeared on two screens, sources say, with the actors unaware. Weaving learned what had happened from the writers and sources believe she reported the incident to SAG-AFTRA and Showtime.
"It was completely unprofessional," said script supervisor Kristin Calabrese, who said she left the room. "They should have made it known immediately to our actors and our director. I know there were past incidents that led up to this being such a sensitive situation, but on any show, if an actor is feeling unsafe or uncomfortable with something, it's our responsibility to make them feel safe."
Weaving, however, has issued no comment.
O'Donnell's publicist initially told the publication that the show is "in a legal situation" and said the actress would not comment. However, she later provided the following statement: "I have worked with Frankie Shaw for two and a half years. She is an immensely gifted young talent. I love acting on SMILF, a show that I am extremely proud of."
In regards to allegations that writers were divided by race, THR writes that "multiple staffers have made complaints to the WGA about both credit issues and alleged race-based separation, though no formal grievances have been filed."
In her statement to THR, Shaw said she is dedicated to creating a platform for underrepresented voices and felt strongly about creating "an intersectional workplace in which more than a third of writers were women of colour."
Her lawyer Andrew Brettler added, "There was never an intention or desire to group the writers based on gender, race or sexual orientation, nor was that ever consciously done by anyone. Smaller 'breakout' groups are formed solely based on ability and the strengths of the individual writers."
For further detail on the issues regarding Weaving's reported complaint and the race-based separation on the show, as well as other trouble on the set, you can read The Hollywood Reporter's entire piece over here.
SMILF Season 2 is set to premiere on Showtime on January 20.