AceShowbiz - "The Chi" creator Lena Waithe regrets the way she handled allegations of misconduct against the show's star Jason Mitchell, although she insists she didn't let his reported behaviour slide.
Mitchell was recently dropped from the TV drama ahead of production on season three amid claims of inappropriate behaviour, which are said to have involved his co-star and onscreen girlfriend, Tiffany Boone.
Earlier this week, begs May 27, showrunner Ayanna Floyd revealed she was actually alerted to the situation by Waithe when she was hired to take charge of season two, but it was left up to her to ensure studio bosses at Fox 21 properly dealt with the issues.
Now Waithe is speaking out about the controversy, making it clear she had already taken steps to try and rectify the conflict onset after learning all about it once the first season had wrapped.
"The idea of me hearing something and not doing anything just isn't true," she explained on New York radio show "The Breakfast Club".
The writer and actress reveals she spoke to Boone directly and admitted she felt "awful" about her "unpleasant" experience, and decided that hiring a "woman of colour" to run the show would be one way to tackle the reported misconduct by attempting to "change the attitude and the environment on that set".
She also took Mitchell aside to confront him about the way he allegedly treated his female colleagues, but ultimately relied on Floyd to take up the issue with Fox's human resources officials.
Looking back, the comedy star admits she would do things differently if a similar problem unfolded now, and she is saddened that Boone chose to leave the series after season two.
"I wish I would have just reached out to Tiffany on my own," she said. "I trusted somebody to do my job, but I wanted to trust my showrunner at the time... the situation wasn't handled appropriately."
"For anyone to say I would stand by while a woman is being mistreated or harassed and not doing anything is just not true, it's not who I am," Waithe added. "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."
Mitchell has yet to comment on the allegations, but "The Chi" isn't the only acting gig he has lost as a result of his reported behaviour - he was also dumped from Netflix film "Desperado" and was dropped by his talent agents and managers.
On Wednesday, May 29, he was also removed as a nominee for a top acting prize at the upcoming MTV Movie & TV Awards.