It’s been three months since star Clayne Crawford was abruptly fired from the moderately successful Lethal Weapon TV adaptation, replacing his character Riggs with a new one played by Seann William Scott. A few weeks later, we got a couple of answers to the general “What the fuck happened?” questions about the split, when Variety weighed in with a deeply entertaining report focused on the massive amounts of dysfunction on the show’s set, and, specifically, the long-brewing feud between Crawford and his co-star, Damon Wayans. Highlights from the piece included video of an exchange in which the two men call each other “pussies,” and politely suggest that their co-star suck their dick.
Things got quiet again in the aftermath of the Variety piece, though, presumably as the show’s publicists got some kind of handle on an extremely volatile situation. But now they’ve once again heated up, with Crawford going on a podcast—Russ Patterson’s Drinkin’ Bros—to air some grievances with the way his exit has been portrayed (and compare himself to Will Smith in the process).
First off, Crawford just straight up admits he didn’t think Warner Bros. Television (which produces the show for Fox) would fire him:
It’s a little different when you replace Becky [from Roseanne] or the mom off of [The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air]. Like it’s a little—like if they’d replaced the Fresh Prince, we’d have been like, what the fuck are we watching anyway? That’s why I just didn’t think it was possible. I just didn’t think they were going to get rid of me, I guess. And if they did, I thought they’d give me a buzz… just a jangle? Just grab two cans and a string and just be like, you’re not coming back. We feel like this is The Damon Wayans Show and people just don’t like you. So go the fuck back to Alabama you dumb hick, thanks for playing.
But despite Crawford’s status as the Fresh Prince Of A TV Remake Of A Once Popular Action Franchise, fire him they did, claiming that he’d exhibited “hostile behavior” on the set. Crawford went on to suggest that several of the tapes circulating of his on-set actions—including one in which he can be heard screaming at someone to “Shut the fuck up” in the middle of a scene—were being held against him as sort of blackmail material from the show’s producers, threatening to use them to, well, demonstrate that he was exhibiting hostile workplace behavior. (He also called claims that he was yelling at kids during the latter video a “blatant fucking lie.”)
There’s also all the Wayans shit-talking you might have hoped for, with Crawford claiming that most of his anger stemmed from his co-star’s apparent absolute disinterest in actually doing the show. Crawford recounts numerous incidents in which Wayans allegedly ditched out on table reads, refused to read scripts, faked calling in sick, and just generally gave every impression of his total disdain for the program. (The “Crawford loyalists”—because that’s how bad the situation got—on the set backed up his claims back in May, although obviously Wayans’ camp disputes the characterization.)
For me, I thought I that I was going to sit behind a legend who had been doing this forever, and I could kind of learn the ropes. That was not the case. He shut down. I’m looking at buses going by in Hollywood with my picture on the side of it and I’m like if this thing sucks, I’m fucked. So I kind of took the reins.
Said reins-taking presumably includes a tendency to raise his voice at people and generally act like a prick on what sounds like a semi-frequent basis.
Crawford supposedly could have still potentially held on to the part, though. He described a meeting in which Warner Bros. TV head Peter Roth—a long-time friend of Wayans, who talked him into doing the show in the first place—told Crawford, “Clayne, I can’t promise you that I can save your job, but what I can tell you is that you have to make a public announcement apologizing, publicly, to Damon Wayans.” Crawford refused, and the rest is extremely juicy history.
Anyway: Good luck, Seann William Scott. You’re probably going to be fine!