It is that time of year when broadcast networks are deciding which shows to keep and which shows to ax — so actors never want to give executives a reason to lean toward the latter.
However, on Monday, Deadline Hollywood reported Clayne Crawford, one of the stars of Fox buddy cop dramedy “Lethal Weapon,” had become such a problem on set that he was “threatening the future of the show” and that a potential recasting of his character was “being explored.”
“I have learned that Crawford has had a history of bad behavior on the show, and that he has been disciplined several times over complaints of emotional abuse and creating a hostile environment,” reporter Nellie Andreeva wrote. “I hear the issue has escalated to a point where other actors as well as crew on ‘Lethal Weapon’ would feel uncomfortable being on set with him.”
“Lethal Weapon,” which airs Tuesdays and will wrap up its second season May 8, was initially seen an easy renewal for Fox, averaging about 7 million viewers a week. Based on the hit films from the 1980s, Crawford stars as Detective Martin Riggs (originally played by Mel Gibson) and Damon Wayans stars as Detective Roger Murtaugh (originally Danny Glover).
But TVLine — owned by the same company as Deadline — hinted last month an unnamed actor on a popular series “has become impossible to work with, and his massively disruptive behavioral issues are causing the network/studio to rethink bringing the series back.” (TVLine revealed Monday the actor was Crawford.)
On Tuesday afternoon, Crawford released a statement on Instagram and confirmed he was reprimanded twice this season. The first time was after he reacted angrily “over working conditions that did not feel safe or conducive to good work under the leadership of a guest director and assistant director.” Afterward, he wrote, he met with human resources and apologized; and at the request of the studio, Warner Bros., he completed therapy and gave part of his paycheck to “one of the parties involved.”
The second incident, Crawford said, occurred when he was directing a recent episode, and an actor was hit by a piece of shrapnel. He said he took full responsibility.
“I absolutely love, respect and care for my crew and cast and would never intentionally jeopardize so many jobs. Moreover, I love the process of making film and television. I appreciate and respect the work of everyone involved,” Crawford wrote. “It takes a village, and I am incredibly sorry if my passion for doing good work has ever made anyone feel less than comfortable on our set, or feel less than celebrated for their efforts. Furthermore, I apologize to all the crew and cast for any negative attention ‘Lethal Weapon’ is receiving because of these incidents.”
“I take great pride in treating everyone in life with dignity and kindness,” he concluded. “I am very grateful for my job, and I work extremely hard at it. I have a responsibility to do good work for my coworkers, for my family, for my home state, and most especially for the fans. I hope they will stick with me, and stick with the show.”
While no decision has been made about the future of “Lethal Weapon,” Fox will present its fall schedule to advertisers in New York on May 14. Fox and Warner Bros. had no comment about the Deadline report or Crawford’s statement.
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