Former The 100 actor and current lead of Starz’s American Gods adaptation, Ricky Whittle, has spoken out about what he deemed an abusive work experience on the set of The CW show.
During an interview with AfterBuzz TV, Whittle shared his disappointment with showrunner Jason Rothenberg’s treatment of his character and what he believed was a very intentional and personal sidelining while acting on the series.
Although Whittle has only recently publicly vocalized his issues, his mother came out over Twitter about the suspected bullying. He had also made two attempts to break away from the show. Whittle attributes Warner Bros. Peter Roth and CW President Mark Pedowitz as the reason why he eventually stayed before making an actual exit this season.
According to Whittle, his role was systematically diminished by Rothenberg, particularly during the current season. While he was originally scheduled to depart the series at the end of season 3, his character Lincoln was killed off during the March 31 episode.
“This is the one character who can protect everyone,” Whittle said. “He’s supposed to be this warrior. He’s supposed to be the link … who could’ve helped on all these missions and then he got thrown in a cell and we kinda came back to him for about 30 seconds in each episode.”
At one point in the interview, Whittle noted that his role became so minimal that he returned home to Los Angeles for six weeks instead of staying on location in Vancouver.
”[Rothenberg] chose to belittle me and neglect my character and myself. I often had questions and emails were ignored and things like that. It was ridiculous,” Whittle continued.
Whittle then went on to describe how he believed Rothenberg abused his position as showrunner to “make my job untenable.”
“What he did was disgusting, and he should be ashamed,” Whittle said. “A lot was made of what my mom said all over Twitter, but everything she said was true. He was professionally bullying me, cutting out all the storylines I was supposed to be doing, cutting lines—cutting everything out—trying to make my character and myself as insignificant as possible to the point that it was starting to get me down.”
The American Gods star attributed the support of his cast as a major aid in helping him get through shooting.
“Fortunately, I was surrounded by an incredible cast and we looked out for each other,” Whittle said.
Whittle did state that on several occasions he was asked to drive to Santa Monica to sit down with Rothenberg, who was allegedly almost never on set, to work out the issues.
This isn’t the first time Jason Rothenberg has come under fire for his showrunning on The 100. Prior to this season, fans had voiced concerns about how the series was handling race, and most recently, the show sparked massive backlash over its choice to use the “bury your gays” trope to kill off its lesbian character, Lexa (Alcyia Debnam-Carey).