The untold story of why Ruth Wilson left #TheAffair. Insiders reveal a complex situation that involved complaints of a hostile work environment, Lena Dunham, and a director and showrunner who sparked a formal investigation https://t.co/33kUPmXHae— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 18, 2019
- According to insiders, Ruth Wilson, wanted to leave the show because of ongoing frustrations, which included the abundance of nudity required of her, tension between her and showrunner Sarah Treem over the direction of her character, and what she ultimately felt was a "hostile work environment."
- Wilson took issue with the nudity which served no purpose, even saying, while referring to a male co-star, "Why do you need to see me and not more of him?" There were also complaints of crew members hanging around to watch the sex scenes.
- While a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson noted performers must still "provide meaningful consent and be treated with respect and dignity during production," sources said Wilson received push-back and was labeled "difficult."
- One source specifically blamed showrunner Sarah Treem, stating: "Over and over again, I witnessed Sarah Treem try to cajole actors to get naked even if they were uncomfortable or not contractually obligated to." Treem has denied the allegations, and her full statement is at the source.
- In particular, one scene in season two bothered Ruth, a "rapey" sex scene against a tree with actor Dominic West. Treem says the scene was consensual but Ruth disagreed with the character's choice so a body double was used. Wilson's body double later sued Showtime, saying she was fired after confronting a male assistant director for describing her on a call sheet as "Alison Sexytime Double."
- The final straw came when Girls producer Jenni Konner witnessed executive producer Jeffrey Reiner ask Lena Dunham to convince Ruth Wilson to "show her tits, or at least some vag" and telling Dunham "You would show anything. Even your asshole."
- Reiner then showed Dunham a photo on his phone of Maura Tierney and a nude male actor working as a body double on The Affair, with the man's penis near Maura's face. Cleta Ellington, an assistant director on The Affair and a longtime associate of Reiner's, says the incident as described never happened, and that Dunham was actually the provocateur who demanded more male nudity. Dunham and Konner did not respond to requests for comment.
- After the incident, some of the actors, including Wilson and Tierney, were said to have expressed discomfort about continuing to work with Reiner. Wilson then reported the show for a hostile working environment, and sparked an internal investigation. Wilson recieved a payout and filmed her scenes ahead of official filming, under the condition that Treem would not be allowed on set with her.
- Wilson later refused to film her death scene because the scene had her character fighting off a rape before being murdered. Treem argued for the assault but Wilson would win, and her character was not sexually assaulted before being killed.
- Ruth Wilson continues to be held under a nondisclosure agreement. Actor Joshua Jackson also left the show after Wilson's exit, and the final season aired this year, without Wilson or Jackson.