Sleepy Hollow's Nicole Beharie says PoC on the show were "seen as expendable"

Joe Anderton
Photo credit: George Pimentel - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Sleepy Hollow actress Nicole Beharie has opened up about her departure from the show after its third season, stating she was dropped and blacklisted due to being a woman of colour.

Speaking to The New York Times, the star said that both she and a co-star became ill at the same time but were treated differently, saying that while he was given time off, she was forced to keep working.

"When you're a person of colour or a woman of any race, you can be labeled in a way that can change the trajectory of your life, health and career," she said.

"For me, six years ago I was on a TV show. My co-star and I both got sick at the same time with the same illness and had different treatments. He was allowed to go on leave for a month and I had to continue working."

Photo credit: George Pimentel - Getty Images

Related: Lennie James and Stephen Graham among stars demanding an end to systemic racism in TV and film

"There was a smokescreen of me getting my own episode titled 'Mama'. By the end of that episode, I started to fall apart. They shut down production for two weeks because I got sick," she continued.

"They sent in lots of doctors, and I had daily checkups to make sure I was actually sick because they had to get the production going.

"Every doctor said I wasn’t doing well and that I needed to rest. That is not what they wanted to hear. Months ensued and I got a lawyer. I got my hours down and worked through it. But then I developed an autoimmune condition."

Nicole continued to compare her experience to the statements that organisations have been putting out in response to the Black Lives Matter protests.

"A lot of corporations are saying lovely things right now, but it doesn't always go well when Black people speak up and ask questions. We can face weaponised denial and obliviousness," she added.

Photo credit: Fox

Related: Why Netflix's Black Lives Matter category is a step in the right direction

"Sometimes I think that some people I was working with didn't like that I was unwell but loved by the audience. I would think they'd support that. But everyone of colour on that show was seen as expendable and eventually let go," she said.

"I tried to get work afterwards and people were like, 'We heard you were difficult.' But no-one can say I was late or unprofessional or negative."

Sleepy Hollow continued for a fourth season after Nicole's controversial exit at the end of season three, but ratings dwindled and it was given the axe.

For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.

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