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‘What I Wanted To Do Was Trust My Showrunner’: Lena Waithe Explains How Jason Mitchell’s ‘The Chi’ Misconduct Continued

Lena Waithe called in to “The Breakfast Club” on Thursday to address actor Jason Mitchell being terminated from the Showtime series “The Chi” for alleged misconduct.

Mitchell’s former co-star Tiffany Boone, who played his girlfriend Jerrika, left the show after filing complaints with HR, and the problems didn’t go away.

Ayanna Floyd was hired to be the second-season showrunner before Boone left, and she, too, filed a complaint after having at least one bad experience with Mitchell.

But the actor was still supposed to return for season 3, even though it was said Waithe knew the bad behavior continued.

“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,” wrote Floyd in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

In her call to “The Breakfast Club,” Waithe said that although the “The Chi” is her creation, she really didn’t have any power because it was her first show.

And because she was treated more like an employee during that first season, she was consumed with navigating her own way and wasn’t aware that anything bad was happening between Boone and Mitchell — at least not until the first season wrapped.

Plus, Waithe confirmed that she brought on a black female showrunner to lessen the chances of there being harassment on set.

She also had the writers go through extensive sexual harassment training but didn’t know the problems surrounding Mitchell didn’t stop until Floyd phoned her.

“So then we get into season 2 and things are running pretty smoothly,” Waithe explained. “I’m not hearing anything, and then I get a call from Ayanna saying things are persisting, not a lot has changed, but you can’t reach out to anybody, you’ve got to sit tight. HR has to handle this.”

Waithe said she regrets not calling Boone right there and then to ask how she could help.

“Instead I trusted someone else to do my job. What I wanted to do was trust my showrunner at the time and ultimately the situation was not handled appropriately,” she stated.

The Chicago native also said she’s learned that she has to place herself in the middle of these kinds of situations, and she’ll work even harder to ensure everyone on her set feels safe.

Besides being terminated from “The Chi,” Mitchell was also dropped by his agent, manager and lawyer.

On top of that, he was fired from the Netflix film “Desperados” before filming began, after being accused of making inappropriate remarks to two actresses while hanging around their trailers.

And his MTV Movie & TV Award nomination was recently pulled in the category for best performance in a show on “The Chi.”  

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