‘American Housewife’ star Carly Hughes exits over ‘toxic environment’

“American Housewife” star Carly Hughes has left the ABC sitcom after four seasons, citing a “toxic environment.”

“I was no longer able to work in the toxic environment that was created on ‘American Housewife,’ ” Hughes told Deadline on Monday. “I made the decision to leave to protect myself from that type of discrimination. As a black woman in entertainment, I feel the responsibility to stand up for what I deserve, what we all deserve — to be treated equally. I wish the show well, and I am excited for a new chapter and to be able to pursue the opportunities ahead.”

Hughes played Angela, who, alongside Doris (Ali Wong), is the supportive BFF to new-to-the-neighborhood housewife Katie Otto (Katy Mixon) in tony Westport, Connecticut. Hughes appeared in the Season 5 premiere on Oct. 28 — the episode was filmed before the coronavirus pandemic sidelined television and film work — but she was not in last week’s episode.

According to Deadline, the show’s production studio, ABC Signature, launched an “extensive” investigation into allegations raised by Hughes about behind-the-scenes operations. That reportedly led to creator Sarah Dunn and line producer Mark J. Greenberg stepping down from producing duties and showrunners Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz undergoing sensitivity training.

“Carly was a valued member of the cast, and we had hoped she would return to the show this season,” a show spokesperson told Deadline. “The concerns she raised led to positive changes to the workplace and improvements to the culture, but we respect the decision she made to move on. We wish her nothing but the best.”

This is not the only cast disruption for Season 5. Child actor Julia Butters, 11 (“Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood”), who played Anna-Kat Otto, left the show and was replaced by Giselle Eisenberg, 13. Additionally, Holly Robinson Peete, an actress and spokesperson for the diet pill Lipozene, is joining the show as a longtime friend of Katie’s.

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