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Meredith Eaton, who plays Matilda “Matty” Webber on the CBS procedural, tweeted a photo late Monday of her and Till’s characters sharing a warm embrace. The gesture came just hours after Vanity Fair published an explosive story about fired showrunner Peter M. Lenkov in which Till — who plays the titular role — alleged that he endured numerous instances of verbal abuse, bullying, and body-shaming while working alongside the EP.
— MEREDITH EATON (@MerEaton) July 21, 2020
Included in the Vanity Fair piece was an excerpt of a note Till had sent to CBS’ HR department that claimed Lenkov pressured Eaton to return to work following an injury (an allegation Lenkov denies). “Meredith suffered an injury on set that was not dealt with properly… and had to get a hip replacement surgery and in-home care to recover fast enough to return to work the next season,” Till wrote. “Peter would frantically email and call her insisting on knowing when she would be able to walk at a fast pace again.”
In that same letter, Till accused Lenkov of body-shaming him, writing, “There was always something about my appearance that wouldn’t please him, like when I was in a hospital gown…. [Lenkov] said my legs were ‘f–king hideous’ and we can never show them again. 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’… 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.”
A rep for Lenkov called Till’s accusations “100 percent false and untrue,” adding that the EP “has championed him from the very beginning and has been nothing but supportive of him.”
On July 7, CBS TV Studios announced that it had fired Lenkov, who also oversaw CBS’ Magnum P.I. reboot as well as the network’s now-concluded remake of Hawaii Five-0. In a statement following his dismissal, Lenkov said, “Now is the time to listen and I am listening. 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.”