Lena Waithe has made her first public statements after the dismissal of Jason Mitchell from The Chi. Calling into The Breakfast Club, Waithe spoke with Charlamagne tha God and provided clarification on her role with The Chi and interactions with the now removed lead star.
Waithe expressed in the interview she wished she acted sooner in correcting the misconduct on set, however, admits bringing in Ayanna Floyd as the season 2 showrunner was supposed to rectify the issues. She also stated both Mitchell and Tiffany Boone agreed to give another change toward working together. Waithe was under the belief that it worked throughout season 2, hearing the set’s environment improved, but it did not.
“Not to say that women are exempt from doing things, but I think it would make it a safer environment. That was my assumption,” Waithe said. “Then I get a call from Ayanna saying things are persisting but not a lot has changed in that area. She told me, ‘You can’t reach out to anybody. You’ve got to sit tight. HR has to handle this.’”
Waithe revealed she received a FaceTime call from Boone about the matter and also pulled Mitchell aside for a conversation about how he conducted himself.
“Because even though he’s an actor on a show of mine, his behavior is also a representation of me, and I can’t have that,” she said. “I can’t have you out here acting crazy if you’re on my show because it bears my name.”
In the conversation, Waithe also revealed that she sold the show to Showtime and the final call to bring someone back to the show solely relies in the hands of the network. While she is involved in direction and storyline, for the show she serves as an employee as well.
On Mitchell’s front, there has not been a public statement revealed since he was released from The Chi, his representation and upcoming Netflix role. In addition to those drops, the MTV Movie and TV awards have removed his nomination in the Best Actor category.
You can hear all 40 minutes of the conversation below.