Following the firing of MacGyver showrunner Peter Lenkov earlier this month, star Lucas Till has now opened up about the toxic environment on the set of the CBS series that left him feeling “suicidal.”
While speaking to Vanity Fair Magazine, Till – also known for playing Alex Summers/Havok in the X-Men movies – says he was the victim of bullying, verbal abuse and body shaming by Lenkov, who was severed from his deal with the network this July following a complaint and subsequent investigation against him.
Till recalled his terrible experience making the first season of the hit show, a revival of the classic 80s/90s series starring Richard Dean Anderson in the title role, as so:
“I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and I am fine with hard work. But the way Peter treats people is just unacceptable. I was suicidal that first year on the show, because of the way he made me feel. But the way he’s treated the people around me — that’s just my breaking point.”
The actor then went on to discuss the body shaming he was subjected to from Lenkov and Vanity Fair notes that he even made a written complaint to CBS’ human resources department at the time about the EP’s behaviour.
“There was always something about my appearance that wouldn’t please him, like when I was in a hospital gown….,” Till recalled. “[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.”
Meanwhile, Lenkov’s representatives have since responded to VF’s story, decreeing Till’s accusations as “100 percent false and untrue,” and that the ex-showrunner “championed” the actor “from the very beginning and has been nothing but supportive of him.”
On July 7th, Lenkov was removed from both CBS shows he was overseeing, MacGyver and Magnum P.I. He had up until recently also served as showrunner on Hawaii Five-O, which just wrapped up this spring after 10 seasons. All three are set in the same extended universe that fans call the “Lenkov-verse.”
As for MacGyver, EP Monica Macer will take over Lenkov’s duties starting with season 5.