Is ‘The Affair’ a toxic show? Everything Ruth Wilson has to say
The atmosphere around Showtime’s The Affair is being called into light due to new allegations from series star Ruth Wilson, who left after the fourth season. Now two years later, Wilson is opening up about her decision to leave the Showtime drama. Oh boy, it definitely sounds like a lot of toxic things were happening behind the scenes of the show, which lasted for five seasons, ending in 2019.
The Affair explored the emotional effects of an extramarital relationship between Noah Solloway (Dominic West) and Alison Bailey (Wilson) after they meet at the diner where Alison works. Over the course of the series, things grow twistier and twistier as the show continues its run. So, what caused Wilson to leave The Affair? How was the series toxic? Here’s what you need to know.
On leaving the show
In an interview with Stylist, Wilson got into some of the reasons why she left The Affair. Largely, it came down to feeling like she was being asked to work in an unprofessional and inappropriate environment. She said, “Things didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel safe.” It’s a good thing she was able to extricate herself from a situation where she didn’t feel safe.
Wilson does admit that she’s remained uncertain about addressing what happened in public interviews. She said on this, “There’s a lot of noise and anger surrounding it, and really the power rests with me to choose how I discuss my life and my experiences. What’s important to say is that I did speak up. I did have a voice. I did stand up for myself.”
She finished with, “There was a situation on The Affair where things didn’t feel right, and I dealt with them, and I managed to protect myself.” Wilson didn’t elaborate on just what happened in this situation, saying that it happened “before #MeToo and before Harvey Weinstein”.
Back in Dec. 2019, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Wilson filed a hostile work environment complaint in early 2017. The complaint alleged that her nude scenes were mishandled. She added that she discussed this with stars outside of the production, which included Lena Dunham.
Wilson’s complaint also alleged that The Affair’s executive producer Jeffrey Reiner shared an explicit picture with Dunham & Jenni Konner, who were not involved with the show. He also, allegedly, showed Dunham a nude picture of Maura Tierney and tried to get her to persuade Tierney to “show her tits, or at least some vag” in future scenes.
A source said, “Over and over again, I witnessed [creator and showrunner] Sarah Treem try to cajole actors to get naked even if they were uncomfortable or not contractually obligated to.” They added that Wilson was asked to appear nude more for no reason other than to titillate viewers. Treem has denied the allegations.
Wilson was able to finally cut ties with The Affair after she pushed back on the final season arc for her character, which involved her getting violently raped and murdered. She was able to leave the show with a “substantial payment”, but neither Wilson or Showtime have reported on the amount.
What action was taken?
CBS investigated the allegations against Reiner and reportedly required him to take an “online anti-harassment and management training course.” Eventually, Reiner would leave The Affair after season three.
Honestly? He should have been out and fired, so the “action” was not really anything other than a slap on the wrist.