Jason Mitchell‘s acting career seemed promising at one point. The New Orleans native shined in films like Contraband (2012) and Broken (2013) right before he made his big break in Straight Outta Compton. Mitchell’s astounding portrayal of the legendary Eazy-E propelled him to stardom, eventually landing him a role on Lena Waithe’s coming-of-age drama The Chi as aspiring chef Brandon Johnson. However, the star’s bubbling film and TV career screeched to a halt in 2019, when allegations of sexual misconduct began to arise while on set filming the critically acclaimed Showtime series.
What Were The Allegations?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, two actresses on the show complained of Mitchell’s sexual misconduct including Tiffanny Boone, who played Mitchell’s on-screen girlfriend, Jerrika on the show, and Ayanna Floyd Davis — The Chi’s second season showrunner. Both women filed a complaint to HR, but their claims fell on deaf ears. Boone revealed that Mitchell’s inappropriate behavior continued and it allegedly became so bad that the actress eventually asked to be released from the series.
Lena Waithe Addressed Jason Mitchell’s Misconduct
Following the scathing report, critics slammed Lena Waithe for failing to address the 34-year-old actor, especially as an avid supporter of the Time’s Up movement. Waithe later spoke on the controversy during an interview with The Breakfast Club in May 2019 where she said she tried to protect her castmates by organizing sexual harassment training after she heard the rumors about Mitchell. In an attempt to build solidarity, she even began hiring more Black women, which included Davis and her co-director. However, misconduct still continued to seep through the cracks.
“Ultimately, what I wanna do, is make things right with Tiffany on a personal level,” Waithe told The Breakfast Club during her appearance. “She don’t deserve to be dragged. She is someone we should be actually protecting. To me, she is representative of a lot of women of color who are ignored and are silenced and pushed away.”
She continued, “It’s just not true that I knew he [Jason Mitchell] was acting crazy and I wasn’t doing anything. Even I talked to him, human to human, and said ‘you need to be respectful of any woman on set’. I can’t have you acting crazy on MY show, because it bears my name.”
Floyd Davis pushed back against Waithe’s claims of innocence, telling The Hollywood Reporter:
“When I took the helm in season two, it was Lena who informed me of the issues between Jason Mitchell and Tiffany Boone from season one, and that Tiffany was thinking of leaving the show because of it. As a result of this information, I discussed Tiffany’s claims with the studio’s HR department and set up HR presentations for the writers, cast, and crew. Ultimately, everyone was well aware of Jason’s behavior and his multiple HR cases, including Lena, the creator and an executive producer of the show, who is very involved at the studio and network level. As a showrunner, I did everything I could to deal with his behavior, by speaking with the studio’s HR department multiple times and instructing one actress to call HR herself, before I became a target of his rage and inappropriateness, and had to report him to HR, as well.”
Mitchell was fired from the comedy film Desperados
Mitchell was tossed from The Chi in June 2019 following the allegations, but his unprofessionalism trickled over to other projects. The actor was fired from his role in Desperados after two young women from the cast accused the star of making highly inappropriate remarks while on set.
“There were two incidents in four days,” an insider close to the incident explained, adding that Netflix did a “quick but thorough” investigation by phone, and the producers were given the green light to do what they thought necessary. The film crew axed Mitchell and replaced his character with Lamorne Morris.
Whispers of Mitchell’s unruly past continued to tarnish his name, including one instance where The Screen Actors Guild Award nominee was accused of being involved in a vicious bar fight that left him with a chipped tooth and broken blood vessels in one of his eyes.
The star was arrested on drugs and weapons charges
In April 2020, the Straight Outta Compton stand-out finally hit his breaking point. Mitchell was arrested at a traffic stop in Gulfport, Harrison County, on drugs and weapons charges. Mississippi deputies searched the disgraced actor’s SUV and found 2 pounds of marijuana along with a bag of 1,300 dosage units of Ecstasy. Mitchell was also reportedly carrying an AK 47 firearm and a Glock 9mm pistol with extended magazines.
A representative for the actor told TMZ, “News stories move fast and oftentimes without all of the facts. This misunderstanding will be resolved shortly. We trust that the court systems (sic) blind justice will protect Jason’s rights and allow him to tell his story.”
Following the shocking news, Mitchell was slammed with multiple criminal charges, including possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a felon.
There is a chance that Mitchell can turn his career around if his involvement in a new project is any indication.
The actor is listed as a co-star in For The Love Of Money, a film being distributed by Byron Allen’s movie studio featuring the likes of Katt Williams, LisaRaye McCoy, Keri Hilson and others. It is scheduled for a nationwide release on Nov. 24.
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