Lena Waithe’s month of May was going great, but her buzz hit a roadblock thanks to Jason Mitchell and her silence on his alleged on-set shenanigans. The writer/actress//producer called into The Breakfast Club to tell her side of the story. Unfortunately, Twitter was not feeling her response.
All eyes have been on Waithe’s Twitter timeline since The Chi’s showrunner Ayanna Floyd revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that everyone, including Waithe, knew about Jason Mitchell’s behavior. Since the bombshell was dropped, social media was disappointed to see Lena Waithe who is known as a champion for women would be so silent about the situation especially being that it’s something she is directly involved with.
Waithe finally broke her silence calling into The Breakfast Club Thursday morning to speak on the situation, making it very clear she did try and do something. But she also explained at the time her voice wasn’t as powerful as it is now and now so her hands were basically tied.
“Season 1 of the Chi, that was shot maybe three years ago, and that was before people really knew who I was. I was one of those powerless women of color in this industry, even though someone could say, well you wrote a pilot, you created a show, you sold it. That’s true, but I didn’t have a ton of power on that show or a lot of say.”
“When it’s your first thing, you’re sort of almost an employee on your own thing. I knew I was aware of stuff I was dealing with on the show, but I wasn’t made aware of anything that was going on with Tiffany until after the season had wrapped.”
When she learned of the complaints of from Tiffany Boone about her co-star Mitchell who plays her on-screen boyfriend on the show Waithe claimed she took action immediately trying to improve the work environment. She explained that her hiring Ayanna Floyd, a Black woman to be showrunner was one her ways to try and fix the situation but later said that she wished she “could have done more.”
“We did discuss some stuff that just wasn’t appropriate. I remember looking at [Tiffany] because we were Facetiming and I was like, ‘Yo, this is not cool, and ‘I feel awful that you had an experience on my set that was not pleasant.’ By that point though, after the season had wrapped, I had a little bit more power, and I had a little bit more clout. I was like, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do to change that. I’m going to hire a woman of color as the showrunner.’”
Waite pretty much explained everything was up to Showtime when it came to disciplining Mitchell. Despite breaking down the whole situation, Twitter was not feeling her response and gave her side-eyes up and down Twitter timelines. Hit the jump to see all the reactions to Waithe’s attempt at fixing the Jason Mitchell situation in the gallery below.
Photo: Amy Sussman / Getty
Lena Waithe be like: look at me! I’m an activist! I’m a part of Time’s Up! I put my foot down when it comes to on-set misbehavior!— Med School Ash (@Miss_AshG) May 29, 2019
Also Lena Waithe: we’re going on season 3 and a main actor has been misbehaving from the beginning but I only knew for one season and did nothing https://t.co/63pzJrAtab
Lena Waithe will always be successful in the Hollywood circles she’s just the type of complacent black they like. She has the knowledge of us, the language of us the look of us but she sits at their tables silently. She’s perfect for them.— Loup-Garou (@Dafalinangel) May 29, 2019
@LenaWaithe is male identified and a sexist who sides with male abusers and protects the men on her set. I hope everything she lays her hands on in the future fails and her gross incompetence as a showrunner stand out to folks. She’s also a terrible ally to women pic.twitter.com/tvrZFxmLSn— miv (@socialwokegirl) May 28, 2019
Although it may not be 100% within her control - I find it odd as a Black Woman Lena Waithe as the creator/EP of The Chi could not have been privy to Tiffany Boone’s complaints as a fellow black woman...— evan. (@essentialyevan) May 21, 2019
@LenaWaithe you knew Jason was a sick creep but yet you let Tiffany have to walk away. You knew since season one and you failed. You knew but yet you continued showing public love to Jason despite women on the set of your show suffering. No good will come to you.— Miv (@beautifullstyle) May 28, 2019
Lena Waithe never read as sincere to me anyways. She’s all perfomative and this showed me just that— Liz|💜 (@CPflashFan) May 28, 2019
While y’all were waiting for Lena Waithe to post something about Jason Mitchell, she’s posting Aziz Ansari on IG. pic.twitter.com/gnbtud4lIW— Sittin’ Up In My Room (@divaTy) May 24, 2019
@LenaWaithe instead of wearing suits with misspelled words you should have been practicing the activism you fake preach.— miv (@socialwokegirl) May 28, 2019
And for Lena Waithe to stand her ass up and shout for supporting women and black women at that and not stand by Tiffany will forever have me side eyeing her there’s no way that she as CREATOR and EP didn’t know what was going on behind closed doors— Janet 🥀 (@nostalgiaonfilm) May 29, 2019
Jason Mitchell was sexually harassing Tiffany Boone since the beginning of the chi and they made her work with him the entirety of season 2 🤢 Lena Waithe knew and all she did was tell the other showrunners so they knew how to handle their scenes together— ida (@aileenasclaudia) May 29, 2019
Imagine selling out the Black women that make up your stories and your audience period, but for Jason Mitchell. I can't imagine.— Cream City Casey (pineapple farmer) (@moderndaybc) May 28, 2019
Legit surprised with Lena Waithe’s handling of Jason Mitchell, but also realizing that some human dynamics hold true across spectrums, like protecting your interests at the sacrifice of others’ well-being and gaslighting/justifying inaction when you have a lot to lose.— was that a nerve? (@primediscussion) May 29, 2019
So Lena Waithe acted as pro-black women while protecting a man who was harassing a black woman on her show. Seriously fuck her!— Maya 🧘🏿♀️ (@Maya86B) May 29, 2019
Lena Waithe when there’s drama on her TV show set pic.twitter.com/SxvraKlrUk— lorena cupcake they/them (@lorenacupcake) May 29, 2019
Lena Waithe on the breakfast club tryna cover her ass 😴😴😴— Tamantha 👸🏾 (@Tamantha_5) May 30, 2019
Lena Waithe’s Breakfast Club interview was NOT GOOD AT ALL.— Jessica Fyre 💫 (@TheJessieWoo) May 30, 2019
as an abolitionist, i don't subscribe to cancel culture. i believe everyone has a capacity for redemption. i believe that starts with accepting accountability. i believe in consequences for failure to do so. i believe until Lena Waithe faces that, i'm done consuming her work.— Stephanie D. Keene 🖤🖤🖤 (@RhythmKeene) May 30, 2019
So not only did Lena Waithe know about the shit Jason Mitchell had stirring up on set, but informed the Season 2 show runner about the issues that Jason was having who then had to report Jason to HR for his own inappropriate behavior towards her.— Lil Floozy Flirt (@SUN_Of_Uhhh) May 29, 2019
Lena don't look good in this.
So Lena Waithe talked about not having much power on her show until the 1st season wrapped which is the same time she learned about Jason Mitchell and her response was was hire a black woman showrunner instead of just firing him????? pic.twitter.com/976RNEdPGL— kae (@sportyidk) May 30, 2019