American Housewife actress Carly Hughes revealed she will not be returning to the ABC comedy, saying she was subjugated to discrimination and a toxic environment on the set.
“I was no longer able to work in the toxic environment that was created on American Housewife,” Hughes said in a statement to Deadline. “I made the decision to leave to protect myself from that type of discrimination. As a black woman in entertainment, I feel the responsibility to stand up for what I deserve, what we all deserve — to be treated equally. I wish the show well, and I am excited for a new chapter and to be able to pursue the opportunities ahead.”
Her claims follow a long suit of Black actresses who recently stepped forward to reveal experiences of racial insensitivity, discrimination and harassment, as the veil continues to be lifted concerning Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes behavior in the wake of ongoing racial violence.
Hughes starred on American Housewife for the last four seasons, appearing in episode one of season five. Production on the series was halted earlier this year due to coronavirus concerns. Hughes portrayed “Angela,” the lone Black friend of cast members Katy Mixon and Ali Wong.
Hughes’ accusations resulted in an internal investigation which led to series creator Sarah Dunn stepping down as an actor producer. Mark J. Greenberg stepped down as line producer, and showrunners Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz underwent required “sensitivity training,” also as a result.
“Carly was a valued member of the cast, and we had hoped she would return to the show this season,” an American Housewife spokesperson said. “The concerns she raised led to positive changes to the workplace and improvements to the culture, but we respect the decision she made to move on. We wish her nothing but the best.”
Hughes is a respected Broadway actress who most recently appeared as Velma Kelly in Chicago, The Leading Player in Pippin and Lucille/Shirley of the Shirelles in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. On TV, she also recurred on the Netflix series Insatiable. Hughes will appear in the Lifetime movie The Christmas Edition, which premieres Sunday, November 15.