‘The 100’ Star Ricky Whittle Talks Exit: Showrunner was ‘Professionally Bullying Me’
The 100 has seen its share of controversial exits in Season 3, though several have been telegraphed by the actor’s work on another series. Ricky Whittle’s recent exit as “Lincoln” in particular drew renewed controversy, while the actor now speaks out to say that showrunner Jason Rothenberg actively bullied him off the show.
Take this with a degree of perspective for the moment (as well as The 100 spoilers), but where previously the actor’s mother had suggested over Twitter that The 100 showrunner Jason Rothenberg had mistreated her son, whose exit was somewhat predicted by the lead role of Starz’s American Gods, the actor himself spoke out at length with AfterBuzz TV (via Zap2It). The character was abruptly killed off last week, a move that drew similar fan outcry to the death of Alycia Debnam-Carey’s Lexa, a fan-favorite role also seen as needed representation, and one that was casually snuffed out.
In particular, Whittle explained that much of his character Lincoln’s Season 3 arc had been unjustly cut, with Rothenberg refusing to address the slights:
At the beginning of the season, [Lincoln] had a whole storyline that was cut, that was just non-existent. It was my choice to go. This is going to be the most controversial thing I will say, is that basically [creator] Jason Rothenberg abused his position to make my job untenable. What he did was disgusting and he should be ashamed. 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 storyline I was supposed to be doing, cutting lines, cutting everything out, trying to make my character and myself as insignificant as possible.
Whittle also noted his efforts to clarify the situation with other producers, given Rothenberg’s refusal to answer, while it was CW boss Mark Pedowitz that allowed Whittle to audition for American Gods to better his situation. It also seems that Lincoln had initially been due for a later exit from Season 3, before being bumped up in a manner as offsetting as Debnam-Carey’s Lexa:
It kind of seemed settled that Lincoln was going to go towards the end of the season, and then a script came out and an amendment came out … where he went back and was executed. I mean, even that storyline – he was executed for no reason. It was very weak … [Lexa is] too incredible a character to be caught by a stray bullet, and then Lincoln, that was really weak. It’s sabotaging the story … it just makes Pike a villain, there’s no layers. It’s taken away his complexity. Before it was like, yeah, he’s aggressive and he’s killing all these Grounders, but he’s just trying to look out for people, he’s trying to think of the greater good. Now he’s just killing people – and that’s not down to Pike, that’s down to the writing. And for me, I just thought that’s just Jason trying to get me off the show as quickly as possible.
All that said, Whittle borrowed the show’s own vernacular to dissuade viewers from bullying Rothenberg in turn, saying “blood must not have blood,” also addressing accusations of the show’s killing off more diverse characters:
From day one, we were killing off characters from the very beginning. But you still have to remember we have a bisexual lead, we have Bryan and Miller, we have various black characters who are in power, we have powerful women – literally the show has everything, so stay with it. Stay with my family, stay with my friends.
Rothenberg took plenty of time to craft formal responses in the wake of Lexa outrage, and it remains to be seen if The 100 showrunner will address Whittle’s accusations. In any case, The 100 will resume Season 3 this Thursday, while Whittle will move onto American Gods.