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Split image of Nicollete Sheridan, Christopher Eccleston and Sophia Bush

5 actors who left TV shows after receiving poor treatment on set

Sophia Bush, Christopher Eccleston and Nicollette Sheridan have spoken out

Megan Bull
TV Writer
April 30, 2024
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Sophia Bush, Christopher Eccleston and Nicollette Sheridan have all addressed the dark side of the entertainment industry, speaking out against the poor treatment they allegedly received on set. 

Charisma Carpenter and Ruby Rose have also addressed their exits from Angel and Batwoman respectively, sharing their experiences on social media. Here's what happened behind the scenes…

Sophia Bush in Chicago PD© Getty

Sophia Bush

Sophia Bush has remained tightlipped about the exact reasons behind her departure from Chicago P.D. but she has spoken openly about the "consistent barrage of abusive behavior" that she experienced on set. 

Joining host Dax Shephard on his Armchair Expert podcast, the actress said: "I quit because, what I've learned is I've been so programmed to be a good girl and to be a work horse and be a tug boat that I have always prioritized tugging the ship for the crew, for the show, for the group, ahead of my own health. The reality was that my body was, like, falling apart, because I was really, really unhappy."

After portraying Erin Lindsay for three years, Sophia decided to exit Chicago P.D. in 2017. According to the star, she had already informed her bosses of her ongoing concerns months before but had been "told to stop." 

"I said, 'Okay, you can put me in the position of going quietly of my own accord or you can put me in the position of suing the network to get me out of my deal and I'll write an op-ed for The New York Times and tell them why,'" Sophia revealed. 

Following discussions, Sophia's character was eventually written out of the show, with Erin leaving Chicago to work for the FBI's New York Counter-terrorism Bureau. 

Charisma Carpenter in Angel© Getty

Charisma Carpenter

Charisma Carpenter was left traumatized after working with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel creator, Joss Whedon. After "nearly two decades" of silence, the actress penned a lengthy statement on Twitter in 2021.

Recalling several "disturbing incidents" with the director, Charisma noted that he had made "passive-aggressive threats" to fire her and had even called her "fat" when she was four months pregnant and working on Angel. 

"Joss intentionally refused multiple calls from my agents making it impossible to connect with him to tell him the news that I was pregnant," wrote Charisma. 

"Finally, once Joss was apprised of the situation, he requested a meeting with me. In that closed-door meeting, he asked me if I was 'going to keep it' and manipulatively weaponized my womanhood and faith against me. He proceeded to attack my character, mock my religious beliefs, accuse me of sabotaging the show, and then unceremoniously fired me the following season once I gave birth."

Charisma noted that she'd finally shared her own story in support of actor Ray Fisher, who in 2020, accused Joss of "gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable" behaviour on the set of Justice League.

Charisma's Buffy The Vampire Slayer co-stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, James Marsters and Eliza Dushku have all voiced their support, commending the actress on her bravery.   

Christopher Eccleston in character as The Doctor in a leather jacket© Huw John/Shutterstock

Christopher Eccleston

Fans were devastated when Christopher Eccleston left Doctor Who after one season but according to the actor, his working relationship with showrunner Russell T. Davies, and producers made it impossible to stay.  

Appearing on an NYCC panel in 2019, Christopher said: "I left because my relationship with the showrunner and the producer broke down. [I left because of] the politics of the show. I left only because of those three individuals and the way they were running the show. 

"I loved playing the character, and I loved the world … I felt, 'I'm gonna play the Doctor my way and I'm not gonna get involved in these politics,' and that wasn't workable, so off I went… and became the invisible man."

Christopher has also stated that he "didn't enjoy the environment and the culture that we, the cast and crew, had to work in." Chatting to the Evening Standard in 2010 he said: "I wasn't comfortable. I thought 'If I stay in this job, I'm going to have to blind myself to certain things that I thought were wrong.' And I think it's more important to be your own man than to be successful, so I left." 

Nicollette Sheridan as Edie in Desperate Housewives© Sky

Nicollette Sheridan

Nicollette Sheridan gifted viewers with Wisteria Lane's resident diva, Edie Britt, but after five seasons, the fan-favourite character was brutally killed off in 2009.

Following Edie's heartbreaking demise, Nicollette filed a $20 million lawsuit against ABC, production studio Touchstone, and the show's creator Marc Cherry in 2010, alleging that she was wrongfully fired from Desperate Housewives

"I was the victim of assault and battery on the set of Desperate Housewives by the creator of the show, my boss," Nicollette recalled to Entertainment Weekly in 2018. "I reported him and was retaliated against for doing so and fired. That is against the law."

While the court case collapsed in 2017 due to a hung jury, Nicollette confirmed her intentions to appeal the following year. "I was vilified for standing up for my rights, not only as a woman but as a human being," she explained. 

"And I was punished for it. But that wasn't going to stop me because I had to get my dignity back, and if I'd let it slide, I couldn't have looked myself in the mirror."

Ruby Rose doing an interview in New York© Getty

Ruby Rose

Ruby Rose transformed into Kate Kane – aka Batwoman – in CW's superhero series, but after season one had premiered, she announced her departure in 2020.

While Ruby refrained from going into specifics, the TV star eventually followed up with a post on Instagram. "Dear CW @carolinedries @sarahsawitty @gberlanti et al. Enough is enough. I'm going to tell the whole world what really happened on that set," she began. 

Recalling the toxic working environment, not to mention the life-changing injuries that both she and fellow members of the cast and crew had endured on set, Ruby noted: "I wouldn't return for any amount of money nor if a gun were to my head... NOR DID I QUIT. I DO NOT QUIT, They ruined Kate Kane and they destroyed Batwoman, not me. I followed orders, and if I wanted to stay I was going to have to sign my rights away. Any threats, any bullying tactics or blackmail will not make me stand down."

"If I don't say something then what am I really saying? This isn't just for me, this could possibly end my acting career, but it was already ended when I could no longer open a script up without a panic attack," Ruby continued. 

"I also had to look at all the people responsible and who contributed to this, myself included, why didn't I stand up for myself, why didn't I sue, why didn't I get a lawyer, why didn't I fight. I was tired. I might look tough, play tough characters but I am very human and very sensitive and do not like conflict. I was also afraid, deeply afraid."

As of April 2022, Batwoman has since been cancelled by CW. 

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