Yesterday (Dec. 17), actress Ali Larter went viral after her former Heroes co-star Leonard Roberts published a powerful essay about how he was treated on the set of the NBC show. Their characters were married and Roberts felt Larter did not feel comfortable with him because he was Black. After trending on social media for hours, Ali Larter is now apologizing for his “perception” of their time working together
The 48-year-old actress said in a statement to TV Line, “I am deeply saddened to hear about Leonard Roberts’ experience on Heroes and I am heartbroken reading his perception of our relationship, which absolutely doesn’t match my memory nor experience on the show.”
She continued, “I respect Leonard as an artist and I applaud him or anyone using their voice and platform. I am truly sorry for any role I may have played in his painful experience during that time and I wish him and his family the very best.”
In a guest essay for Variety, the 48-year-old actor opened up about being fired from the series after Larter purportedly made it clear she didn’t want to work with him, despite Roberts always maintaining a professional attitude during their interactions. He also revealed that his character was described in the script as a “white man’s nightmare,” and was subject to racist tropes and stereotypes. His requests to collaborate with writers on the show — which is industry standard for series regular actors on a television show — went unanswered.
The part of Roberts’ story that sparked the most outrage on social media involves his co-star Ali Larter throwing a tantrum when asked to do an intimate scene with Roberts — a reaction that was quite the opposite as when the situation involved her interactions with a white man.
Roberts’ tense relationship with Larter, according to him, ultimately resulted in him being written off the show before the end of the first season. “Don’t think of this as a situation where the Black man loses and the white woman wins,” a producer on the show told him, though by all accounts, that’s exactly what happened.
The gaslighting continued when, according to Roberts, one of his castmates asked, “Can you really say you lost your job because you’re Black? C’mon, man. They’re gonna always keep the hot blonde on the show. That’s just Hollywood.”
Read Roberts’ full account of his experience on Heroes here.