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‘The Affair’ Showrunner Sarah Treem Claims Showtime Ordered Her to Write ‘Out’ Ruth Wilson After Alleged Misconduct

Her side of the story. The Affair showrunner and co-creator Sarah Treem responded to new allegations stemming from Ruth Wilson’s 2018 exit from the Showtime series.

Related: TV’s Shadiest Behind-the-Scenes Shakeups: ‘The Affair’ and More

Treem addressed the claims from The Hollywood Reporter piece published earlier this week in a lengthy guest column for Deadline on Friday, December 20.

“When the Lenny Letter came out, I repeatedly urged Showtime to do something. I wanted to shut down production, do sensitivity training, address the cast and crew and apologize for what had occurred,” she wrote of a 2016 incident between Affair producer Jeffrey Reiner and Lena Dunham, in which he urged the actress, 33, to encourage Wilson, 37, to agree to more nudity. “But instead, I was told to stick to certain talking points and let the network handle the response. By the time the third season was over, Showtime executives told me to write Ruth out of the show.”

'The Affair' Showrunner Sarah Treem Claims Showtime Ordered Her to Write Ruth Wilson 'Out' After Alleged Misconduct
Sarah Treem and Ruth Wilson Shutterstock (2)

Treem went on to claim that she “tried to protect [Wilson] and shoot sex scenes safely and respectfully,” despite their frequent differences in opinion about how the moments should play out. “We didn’t agree on the choices of the character or whether or not a sex scene was necessary to advance the plot, but that is not the same thing as not respecting or supporting an actress’s need to feel safe in her work environment, which is something I always take incredibly seriously,” she added.

Related: Shocking TV Exits

The producer alleged that the Luther star’s notes on her character — which began during the second episode — led her to abandon “my original plan for the character” and try to “write Alison closer to Ruth’s vision.”

As for Alison’s violent death, Treem defended her exit strategy for Wilson’s character. “Alison needed to go. But for a character to disappear, on a show like this, she needed to die,” she explained. “She couldn’t just walk away into the sunset because we followed our characters wherever they went. I could have written that she got hit by a bus in the first episode, but I loved her character and wanted to finish her story meaningfully. So I put my head down and tried to write her a brief, but satisfying final season.”

Related: TV’s Most Shocking Deaths

The playwright concluded: “I did not always agree with Ruth Wilson, but I did always have respect for her craft, her ability and her process and I tried to write her a character deserving of her immense talent.”

Wilson starred as Alison on The Affair during seasons 1 through 4. She made headlines in August 2018 when she admitted in an interview with CBS This Morning that she “did want to leave [the show] but I’m not allowed to talk about why.”

The Hollywood Reporter delved into the behind-the-scenes issues in a story posted online on Wednesday, December 18, citing friction between Wilson and Treem, problems with onscreen nudity and a “hostile work environment” as reasons for her departure.

Us Weekly has reached out to Showtime for comment.

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