UPDATE: Jason Rothenberg has issued the following statement to Zap2it: “Ricky Whittle is a talented actor; I appreciate his work on ‘The 100’ and wish him all the best moving forward on ‘American Gods.'”
The original story continues below.
“The 100” star Ricky Whittle, whose character Lincoln was killed off in last Thursday’s (March 31) episode, sat down with AfterBuzz TV Tuesday to speak about his exit from the show — and boy, did he have a lot to say.
First of all, Whittle says that Lincoln wasn’t supposed to die in Season 3.
“At the beginning of the season, he had a whole storyline that was cut, that was just non-existent. It was my choice to go,” says Whittle. “This is going to be the most controversial thing I will say, is that basically [creator] Jason Rothenberg abused his position to make my job untenable. What he did was disgusting and he should be ashamed. A lot was made of what my mom said all over Twitter, but everything she said was true. He was professionally bullying me, cutting out all the storyline I was supposed to be doing, cutting lines, cutting everything out, trying to make my character and myself as insignificant as possible.”
Whittle doesn’t go into why — or why he thinks — Rothenberg did these things Whittle is claiming, but he does say it’s not about the screentime.
“Every time a script would come through I would see literally nothing for Lincoln. He’s not doing anything. It was never about screentime, it’s an ensemble cast … but it was why he had no screentime,” says Whittle. “I approached other producers and said, ‘What’s going on?’, the producers that were actually on set because Jason always stayed in Santa Monica, and I said, ‘What’s going on? Why am I being treated like this?’ And the producer I spoke to just [said], ‘You need to speak to him. I don’t know what his problems are with you.'”
Whittle doesn’t detail any trips he took down to Santa Monica, which he says he did twice in previous seasons. He does say that Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. Television Group, and Mark Pedowitz, president of the CW, have been nothing but supportive. In fact, they were the ones who allowed him to audition for “American Gods” because they could see that “[his] character was not being used at all.”
Whittle says he’s sorry to the fans, not only because Lincoln is gone, but because a fan-favorite ship, Linctativa (Lincoln and Octavia, played by Maria Avgeropoulos) is also gone.
“[Linctavia has] disappeared and the reason was Jason was trying to cut me out and it was childish, it was immature, it’s narcissistical, really,” says Whittle. “He chose to belittle me and neglect my character and myself. I often had questions and emails were ignored and things like that. It was ridiculous. … That’s one thing that I’ll never forgive him for, he made me walk away from something I really love. … He forced me to make that choice, to walk away. But I’m proud I did it, I stood up and said, ‘Enough’s enough.’ My personal well-being is more important than this.”
Whittle also reveals that when he told Rothenberg he wanted off the show, they discussed Lincoln getting killed off in the season finale — but that’s not what happened, obviously.
"It kind of seemed settled that Lincoln was going to go towards the end of the season, and then a script came out and an amendment came out ... where he went back and was executed. I mean, even that storyline -- he was executed for no reason. It was very weak," says Whittle, adding that both Lincoln and Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) had very weak exits from the show.
"[Lexa is] too incredible a character to be caught by a stray bullet, and then Lincoln, that was really weak. It's sabotaging the story ... it just makes Pike a villain, there's no layers. It's taken away his complexity. Before it was like, yeah, he's aggressive and he's killing all these Grounders, but he's just trying to look out for people, he's trying to think of the greater good. Now he's just killing people -- and that's not down to Pike, that's down to the writing. And for me, I just thought that's just Jason trying to get me off the show as quickly as possible."
Whittle also wants to encourage people who feel they are being bullied to seek help. "No one should ever suffer in silence. Bullies thrive in silence. That should never be allowed to happen ... you should always feel that you have someone to talk to .. there are call centers, there's various things online, look them up. There's always someone you can talk to, you should never suffer through anything on your own."
But the bottom line is, Whittle says he isn't there to "witch-hunt" or throw shade, so he doesn't want his fans bullying Rothenberg.
"My strong message is 'blood must not have blood,' none of this 'eye for an eye' business. I don't stand for anyone bullying bullies, so it's not about that," says Whittle. "My big message is keep watching this show, keep watching 'The 100.' It's an incredible show and that's my family, so I want to promote that you keep supporting my cast and my crew. My cast is the hardest-working cast I've ever had the privilege of working with. The crew, you don't even see what they do off-screen ... they work their fingers to the bone."
He touches on the fans who are boycotting the show in the wake of lesbian character Lexa being killed off and he says that while he understands fans get attached to characters, it's important to keep watching in order to keep raising the kind of awareness they're raising.
"From day one, we were killing off characters from the very beginning. But you still have to remember we have a bisexual lead, we have Bryan and Miller, we have various black characters who are in power, we have powerful women -- literally the show has everything, so stay with it. Stay with my family, stay with my friends."