In April, Frank Langella was fired from Mike Flanagan's upcoming Netflix series The Fall of the House of Usher due to complaints of unacceptable behavior on set. He was replaced by Bruce Greenwood and production resumed, but Langella refused to let production have the last word: on May 5, he penned a strongly-worded guest column for Deadline in which he asserted his innocence and aired his grievances about cancel culture, calling his firing "not fair," "not just," and "not American."
According to a new Deadline report published Friday, Langella's op-ed was met with "shock, disbelief and anger" from The Fall of the House of Usher team. Sources close to the show reportedly felt that his behavior on set was "toxic," and they revealed personal accounts of shocking behavior on set that included "incredibly sexual" comments and an incident in which he reportedly "smacked" a crewmember.
In his column, Langella wrote that one of the allegations that led to his firing was him telling an "off-color joke." Sources told Deadline that Langella's comments went far beyond jokes, saying some of his statements were "incredibly sexual in nature," "grossly inappropriate," and at times "graphic and misogynistic." In addition, sources claim he frequently "asked cast members about their sexual experiences" and "spoke graphically about his own sexual history."
Sources revealed some examples of Langella's alleged jokes, saying that the actor once referred to a character in the show as someone who "took all her clothes and f*cked the whole bar." In another instance, Langella allegedly asked an actor playing a character who had been burned whether the makeup department would apply fake burns to his genitalia, asking if the fire "burnt your d*ck?" In his column, Langella chalked his jokes up to his responsibilities as "the leading actor" to "set an example by keeping the atmosphere light and friendly."
With respect to allegations of inappropriate touching on set, Langella confirmed in his column that he was told by a producer to change his behavior, saying the producer told him, "You cannot do that, Frank... You can't touch." Those close to production claim they saw "in at least one case a non-sexual physical contact" with a makeup artist. "He smacked them out of the way, that was very upsetting,” a source told Deadline.
Langella has maintained that he did not engage in unacceptable behavior, writing in his column, "These indignities [his firing] are, to my mind, the real definition of unacceptable behavior."
Despite Langella's denials, sources closely involved in the show are pleased he's no longer a part of the series, with one insider telling Deadline that after his firing, “there was a profound relief bordering on jubilation among cast and crew.”
The Fall of the House of Usher is currently in production and is expected to be released on Netflix next year.
Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.