Warner Bros. TV managed to save “Lethal Weapon” over the weekend with a last-minute Hail Mary move to replace fired star Clayne Crawford with “American Pie” alum Seann William Scott. But apparently hard feelings remain for star Damon Wayans, who posted his side of the story on Monday night via Twitter.
After some fans of the show balked at the changes, Wayans wrote that he believed “Warner Bros. TV is not defending me at all,” and posted images (and a video) of an injury he received on the back of his head while shooting an episode directed by Crawford. “Now that the fate of the show is solidified, I’d like to address the Twitter outrage with this video and image to follow,” he wrote.
Wayans also tweeted that he received “no apology” from Crawford. The two stars’ relationship had already been rocky, but insiders said this solidified the animosity between the two — and several nasty exchanges followed. Below, here’s the video, shared by Wayans, of the moment he was injured on set.
— Damon Wayans (@DamonkWayans) May 15, 2018
There’s also the issue of Crawford’s behavior on set beyond just Wayans, which has been well documented. Wayans posted a photo of a sticker on set calling Crawford “an emotional terrorist,” arguing that “He became uninsurable. Relished in making female [sic] cry. And struck fear in cast and crew.”
Among others whom Wayans alleges were harmed during filming: “He hit another actor in the mouth with a bottle of green tea and busted his mouth open.” And in yet another tweet, Wayans said Crawford had a “file of infractions” and told Warner Bros. TV to “release the tapes” — alleging that there is film of Crawford’s bad behavior.
“Kiss the dark side of my ass if you don’t understand it wasn’t just me,” Wayans wrote.
Additionally, Wayans retweeted a fan who defended the choice of Scott in taking over opposite him.
Yet, insiders have suggested that Wayans wasn’t completely innocent on set either. And in what may have been some of his own negotiation, the actor on May 12 was retweeting fans who suggested that Crawford needed to stay. He even tweeted the hashtag “#TeamClayne” at one point. That Tweet appears to be gone, and Wayans claimed that his Twitter account was “hacked,” but yet those other pro-Crawford Tweets remain.
Crawford was reprimanded several times by Warner Bros. TV for his behavior on set, which he admitted in an Instagram post, but said he “reacted with anger over working conditions that did not feel safe or conducive to good work.” According to his post, he completed studio-appointed therapy and shared part of his check with one of the parties that he clashed with. He then also mentioned the Wayans shrapnel incident, without mentioning his co-star’s name.
“I absolutely love, respect and care for my crew and cast, and would never intentionally jeopardize so many jobs,” he wrote. “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.”
That apology didn’t sit well with Warner Bros. TV, however, and the studio began looking for a replacement. Among the options were Scott and Johnny Knoxville (who sources said was not interested in doing a TV series). Once Scott was firmed up, Warner Bros. announced that it had decided not to renew Crawford’s contract.
The move was a gamble, as Warner Bros. TV has a lucrative hit on its hands, and changes to an established show are often hard to incorporate. But insiders said the situation had become untenable.
Fox wasn’t informed at first of the situation, and Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden admitted to reporters on Monday that “this was not our choice… ultimately, our partners at Warner Bros. came to us about three weeks ago to tell us that they could not deliver ‘Lethal Weapon’ as we’ve known it before. That there were some real challenges in the cast. They thought long and hard about it. I know that was not their first choice, but that ultimately, these were the circumstances that they could offer the show.
“We thought about it a lot, and we talked about a lot of different names and ultimately, when they came back with Seann, and a fantastic showrunner, and a big TV star in Damon, and a great cast and a storytelling engine that works, and a fan base that’s very passionate about the show, I think we ultimately made the right choice,” she added. “And we are prepared to support it from a marketing point of view, to educate viewers and fans of the show, about a new dynamic, but a good one, and a lot of a show that people love, which is still intact.”
In particular, Fox and Warner Bros. TV execs point to the successful transition of “NYPD Blue” early in its run, when David Caruso departed and was replaced by Jimmy Smits. “‘NYPD Blue, changing out one of their leads going into the second season of the show, did that beautifully with a great new character, and the show continued on its great success path,” said Fox TV Group chairman Gary Newman. “And we’re anticipating Matt Miller, who’s really one of the top creator/showrunners working in television today, being able to do that with Seann and ‘Lethal Weapon.'”
After Wayans’ initial tweetstorm, he switched his Twitter account to private — but by then, plenty of screengrabs had already been taken. Later, he once again opened his account to the world to see. Warner Bros. TV has not responded to a request for comment. [Updated on Tuesday: Wayans appears to have now deleted his Twitter account.]