CBS fired Lenkov earlier this month, following an investigation into multiple claims that he created a toxic work environment.
Opening up to Vanity Fair, titular “MacGyver” star Till recalled instances of Lenkov’s “unacceptable” behaviour, including acts of verbal abuse, bullying and body-shaming.
“I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and I am fine with hard work,” said Till. “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.”
Regarding the instances of body-shaming, Till continued: “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 humour 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.”
Speaking to Vanity fair, a rep for Lenkov called Till’s accusations “100 percent false and untrue,” while insisting that the executive producer “has championed him from the very beginning and has been nothing but supportive of him.”
CBS TV Studios announced on July 7 that it had formally cut ties with Lenkov.
“Peter Lenkov is no longer the executive producer overseeing ‘MacGyver’ and ‘Magnum P.I.’, and the studio has ended its relationship with him,” a CBS TV Studios spokesperson said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Monica Macer will be the showrunner on ‘MacGyver’ and Eric Guggenheim will run ‘Magnum P.I.’ Both are currently executive producers on their respective series. Our studio is committed to ensuring safe and respectful production environments,” the statement continued. “Over the past year, we have assigned human resource production partners to every show, expanded staff training and increased reporting options.”
Lenkov, who is Canadian, released a statement to the outlet as well, saying: “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.”