The saga of what really happened on the set of Charmed has another new chapter. Buckle up, it’s a lot of back and forth.
Shannen Doherty, Rose McGowan and Holly Marie Combs sat side by side on the main stage at MegaCon Orlando on Sunday. As the panel came to a close, Doherty pulled out a cellphone to read a statement. At one point, the actress fought back tears as she responded to claims made two days earlier at the same convention by fellow Charmed star Alyssa Milano, who blasted Doherty and Combs for crafting “revisionist history” in blaming Milano for Doherty’s firing at the end of season three in 2001.
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“A lot of things have been said, and a lot of them very hurtful,” Doherty said in reference to her hard-to-follow saga with Milano. During an episode of Doherty’s Let’s Be Clear podcast in December, she and Combs blasted Milano for allegedly giving an ultimatum to a Charmed producer to choose between Milano or Doherty, or the former would file a lawsuit alleging a hostile work environment. Milano offered a rebuttal to Doherty’s claims Friday.
“Holly and I, we were not mean on the podcast, my podcast, Let’s Be Clear. In fact, we went in and we edited out anything that we felt would cause more drama. We simply told the truth because the truth actually does matter. But we wanted to try to save you, the fans, from heartbreak as much as humanly possible,” Doherty said in reading the statement as seen in a video captured by TikTok user Disadventurelife, seen below.
She then acknowledged her health status in battling stage four cancer as the reason for speaking out. “At this point in my life with my health diagnosis — I’m sorry if I start crying — with fighting horrific disease every day of my life, it is also incredibly important to me that the truth actually be told as opposed to the narrative that others put out there for me,” detailed Doherty, whose Charmed character Prue Halliwell was killed off. “We told it together, we told our truths and we are standing by our truths. There is no revisionist history happening in the truth that I know we told. There is no brush flinging or shoe flinging. There is no lateness to set, there is no mediator for months on end. I recall the facts as if I was still living in them.”
Doherty then noted earlier comments she made about how the firing took away a job that she loved, one that delivered a healthy salary. Nearly choking up, she continued: “It is only through my battle with cancer that I decided to address this trauma and be open and honest about it so that I can actually heal from a livelihood that was taken away from me. A livelihood that was taken away from my family because somebody else wanted to be number one on the call sheet. That is the truth.”
In the series, which first aired on the WB and later The CW, Milano, Doherty and Combs played the Halliwell sisters. The trio learned that they were descendants of a line of good female witches and found themselves joining forces to fight evil with combined witchcraft they referred to as “the power of three.”
The premise is an ironic twist considering the situation they now find themselves in, and adding to the complicated reality was McGowan, who joined the show to play a new character named Paige Matthews after Doherty was fired.
McGowan, who emerged as an activist voice during the #MeToo era after she shared claims of being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, then took to the microphone to offer an exclamation point to Doherty’s statement. “We’ve protected you [the show’s fans] for a long time. We’ve done it for as long as we could. All of us,” said McGowan, who then quoted controversial comedian Katt Williams. “He has a wonderful saying, ‘Winners do not let losers rewrite history.'” With that, the trio exited the stage.
But there have been other headlines in recent days regarding the Charmed drama.
Following her MegaCon appearance and initial statement, Milano took to Instagram to double down on the “revisionist history” claim. She reminded her followers that it has been nearly a quarter of a century, and that it’s also worth pointing out that during her initial comments from the stage, Milano said she apologized for “whatever part” she played in the situation. (“I’ve worked really hard to heal the bits because I understand that hurt people hurt people, and my intention is to be a healed person that helps heal people,” she also said.)
Back to her follow-up Instagram post. “I will add, though, with absolute certainty — everything was documented. There was a professional mediator (I was told Holly and Shannen would not participate in any mediation) and an on-set producer/babysitter who were both brought in to investigate all claims,” Milano shared. “It was then recommended by this mediator, after collecting testimony from cast AND crew — what changes should be made if the show was going to continue. The studio, Aaron Spelling, and network made the decision to protect the international hit that was Charmed. I did not have the power to get anyone fired. Once Shannen left we had 5 more successful seasons and I am forever grateful.”
Following her statement, Combs also used Instagram to blast Milano by saying that she’s disappointed in her words, which were delivered in contrast to their text message exchange. “Sadly, that’s not surprising anymore,” Combs wrote, adding that Doherty’s firing was “not revisionist history,” but rather the history Milano “didn’t want people to know about, and the history Shannen wasn’t ready to talk about until one month ago.” Combs continued: “I heard that Alyssa said she did not have the power to fire anyone which is ironic because this was actually all about power. But let’s go with that and let me explain what she did have the power to do. She had the power the stop the process at any time.”
McGowan was among the first to chime in in the comments section by writing, “Sometimes a mess has to be made for things to be cleaned up. This for me is way bigger than a TV show, it goes to years of continuous behind the scenes character assassination and targeted reputation smearing because of narcissistic pathological jealousy. I wish none of it had to be this way. I remain proud of everyone involved for the magic we wove and the magic created worldwide. Truth is uncomfortable, but magic never dies.”
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