SMILF creator Frankie Shaw is under investigation for alleged misconduct on the set of the hit Showtime series. Shaw won a jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her short film about a single mom down on her luck, which was eventually adapted into the series on Showtime. The show has been praised by many, but it appears that there has been some trouble behind-the-scenes since the beginning of Season 1 and the upcoming Season 2, with one actress quitting after unethical behavior by Shaw on the set.
Actress Samara Weaving has left the show over claims that her contract was breached due to two uncomfortable sex scenes over the course of two seasons on SMILF. According to sources, Rosie O'Donnell has talked to producers about the chaotic set and Frankie Shaw's treatment of Weaving. Weaving has a no nudity clause in her contract and when asked to take off her top, the actress protested, which resulted in Shaw bringing her privately into a trailer for a heated exchange which involved Shaw reportedly pulling up her top to expose her own breasts. Shaw denies that she exposed herself to Weaving. Love scenes were also reportedly broadcast on studio monitors after assurance that it was a closed set.
In addition to the sexual misconduct allegations on the set of SMILF, the production has also been accused of segregating writers. According to sources, white writers are in one room while black writers are in another. There have also been claims of uncredited writing going into the show along with abusive behavior. Multiple staffers have made complaints to the WGA about the writing credit issues and writer separation, according to sources. One writer on the show says that he had a great time working there and that the separation was only because there was no further room with the other writers.
In a statement, Rosie O'Donnell said that she enjoys working with Frankie Shaw and, "I love acting on SMILF, a show that I am extremely proud of." Staffers on the series asked to remain anonymous over fear that Shaw would try to sabotage their careers. Shaw released a statement of her own through her lawyer and says that she is striving to be a better leader. She had this to say.
"I work daily to create an environment in which everyone should feel safe, and in which I can continue to grow as a leader and manager. I am now and always have been open to hearing and addressing all concerns and issues that fall within my control. It pains me to learn that anyone felt uncomfortable on my set. I sincerely hope we can work together to resolve any and all issues, as I am committed to creating a workplace in which all people feel safe and heard."
Anonymous sources from the set of SMILF say that Frankie Shaw "uses this idea of being feminist and a progressive as camouflage." Others say that working on all shows can be stressful at times, but everybody later apologizes and moves on. Apparently, working with Shaw is not like that. Showtime chose not to comment on the allegations, but ABC Studios has announced that they are investigating the claims in order to make a safe working environment for all workers. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to bring up the SMILF news.