‘MacGyver’ Star Lucas Till Was ‘Suicidal’ Working Under Showrunner Peter Lenkov

MacGyver Lucas Till Suicidal Working Under Showrunner Peter Lenkov
Lucas Till Alberto Terenghi/IPA/Shutterstock

Taking a toll. Lucas Till, the star of MacGyver, is opening up about his time working for Peter Lenkov, the former MacGyver, Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I. executive producer who was fired by CBS on July 7 following multiple complaints of toxicity on set.

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“I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and I am fine with hard work,” Till, 29, told Vanity Fair in a lengthy story about Lenkov’s behavior posted on Monday, July 20. “But the way Peter treats people is just unacceptable. I was suicidal that first year on the show, because of the way he made me feel. But the way he’s treated the people around me — that’s just my breaking point.”

Although the showrunner rarely visited set, Till claimed that he created a hostile work environment — something he went to top executives about in both 2017 and this year.

“I think they just took it as some crazy actor trying to get more money,” he said. “Essentially, they didn’t take it seriously.”

MacGyver Lucas Till Suicidal Working Under Showrunner Peter Lenkov
Peter Lenkov Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Vanity Fair obtained the X-Men actor’s letter to CBS’ Human Resources department.

“There was always something about my appearance that wouldn’t please him like when I was in a hospital gown and our producer … thought it was funny that [Lenkov] said my legs were ‘fucking hideous’ and we can never show them again,” he wrote. “Honestly, I found some humor in that comment as well, but you can imagine if that was a more sensitive spot that he had hit, and often did. Just like the time he screamed at [a director] ‘Oh, my f–king God! Tuck his shirt in, he looks like a little f–king boy.’ Just hire a 35-year-old then.’ I’ve struggled with maintaining ‘man weight’ on the show because of the stress, no time to work out, and an unpredictable schedule for proper nourishment.”

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The writer’s lawyer denied the allegations of abuse and body-shaming made by Till, telling Us Weekly that he “has championed him from the very beginning and has been nothing but supportive of him.” However, the producer also noted, through his lawyer, that he is “listening” to everything: “It’s difficult to hear that the working environment I ran was not the working environment my colleagues deserved, and for that, I am deeply sorry. I accept responsibility for what I am hearing and am committed to doing the work that is required to do better and be better.”

Earlier this month, CBS Studios announced that Lenkov was fired.

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“Our studio is committed to ensuring safe and respectful production environments,” a CBS TV Studios spokesperson said at the time. “Over the past year, we have assigned human resource production partners to every show, expanded staff training and increased reporting options. We will continue to evolve our practices with continued focus on building trust with all who work on our sets. Every complaint is taken seriously, every claim is investigated, and when evidence is clear that policies were violated and values not upheld, we take decisive action.”

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