Friday, May 24, 2024

Exclusive: Ruth Wilson’s Exit from Showtime’s “The Affair” Was About #Metoo, Not Pay Parity After All


I wrote a couple of weeks ago that actress Ruth Wilson’s abrupt exit from Showtime’s “The Affair” may have been about pay parity. Wilson had complained about being paid less than her male co-stars last winter. Then her character, Allison, was killed off the series despite Wilson having won a Golden Globe and being the central character in the story. Suddenly, she was gone.

Now I can tell you that whatever happened to Wilson on “The Affair” was not about pay parity. It was about #Metoo. I am told that an incident on set led to her demand to be let out of her contract. The incident did not involve either of her male co-stars, Joshua Jackson or Dominic West. But it happened while this past season was shooting. Allison’s murder had to be invented to accommodate Wilson’s quick departure.

But Wilson’s problem on “The Affair” was not singular to her. In January, an actress named Ashlynn Alexander filed a sexual harassment suit against Showtime and “The Affair.” Alexander worked on many episodes of “The Affair” as Wilson’s stand in. She claims that after being sexually harassed by assistant director Travis Rehwaldt she complained to the production and was let go five days later.

According to Alexander’s complaint, Rehwaldt had listed her on the call sheet for shooting on September 17, 2015 as “Allison Sexytime Double.”

When Ms. Alexander asked for an explanation for her termination, she was told that she did not have a good hair match with Wilson and “The Affair” was looking for someone else to fill her former role. Ms. Alexander knew that this was untrue, since she had been wearing a wig for the duration of her work as Wilson’s body double, without issue. The actress hired to replace Ms. Alexander, Stephanie Corbett, also wears a wig  in order to properly match Wilson’s hair.”

Alexander’s case is very much active, according to her attorney. I am assured by sources that Rehwaldt is not involved in whatever happened to Wilson.
But Wilson herself gave away a little of the story yesterday on “CBS This Morning.” She told Gayle King that she did ask to leave the show, but she wasn’t allowed to talk about it. King looked surprised. But Wilson obviously signed an NDA and settled with Showtime. Ironically, CBS owns Showtime. And CBS’s leader, Les Moonves, is under investigation for sexual harassment himself.  Wilson also told King that pay parity had not come up as an issue with Showtime.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News