Bad news for fans of the nostalgic reboot: Variety reports exclusively that Fuller House's showrunner has been fired after complaints about his behavior. In a statement released Wednesday, Warner Bros. TV revealed that the studio had terminated its overall relationship with Jeff Franklin. "We are not renewing Jeff Franklin’s production deal and he will no longer be working on Fuller House." The move means that Franklin is cut not just from the popular Netflix series, but from any and all future work with the studio as well. (Bustle has reached out to Franklin for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.)
Update: On Tuesday, Franklin posted a photo on Instagram with a statement about his departure from Fuller House. It read,
"I’m heartbroken to be leaving Fuller House. Creating and running Full House and Fuller House has been the greatest joy. I wish the cast, my second family for over 30 years, continued success. I’m so proud of all we accomplished together, and beyond grateful to our loyal fans. Adios Tanneritos!"
Earlier: The allegations against Franklin reportedly include verbal abuse and inappropriate commentary both on-set and in the writers' room. According to the outlet, staffers alleged that the showrunner had "sexually charged comments about his personal relationships and sex life." One thing that is being emphasized by outlets like The Hollywood Reporter, however, is that the complaints are "behavioral," and not sexual. Franklin is not being accused of direct sexual misconduct with any staffers, a category that would include sexual harassment, coercion, or inappropriate physical or sexual contact of any kind.
Instead, the statements paint a picture of an executive producer out of touch with the proper boundaries of the workplace, even after years in the industry. Franklin has been the creative force behind multiple other series throughout his career, including the original Full House, and Hanging with Mr. Cooper, and there's no word yet whether he received similar complaints on those sets. But on Fuller House, at least, the 63-year-old is alleged to have blurred the line between his personal and professional lives to an inappropriate degree.
Variety's sources claimed that one of staffers' particular allegations was about Franklin's tendency to bring dates onto the set. In some cases they claim he even gave bit parts to women he was seeing romantically, although no names or details are cited to support that allegation. But while it's too early in the life of this story to know whether these type of allegations have been a pattern for Franklin on past projects, his removal isn't entirely out of left field.
Executives on Fuller House had reportedly received an anonymous letter two years ago that cited these complaints, and referred to Franklin as a "walking lawsuit waiting to happen." It's unclear how or if those allegations were investigated in the time, or if the mounting momentum of the #MeToo movement caused a reexamination of past complaints, and the probe that ultimately led to Franklin's removal.
All that's known now is that Fuller House has been renewed for a fourth season, and that renewal isn't jeopardized by Franklin's removal. Netflix reassured fans of as much in a statement of their own, also released Feb. 28, saying: "Fuller House will return for a fourth season, as planned. We hope to go into production in the next few months.” Whether that will mean an adjusted time frame remains to be seen; it's the comfort of the cast, crew, and writers that should be emphasized in this moment.
But while it's still early in this story and details are developing, Franklin's removal can at the very least serve as a helpful reminder. Feeling safe and respected at work is a right, not a privilege, no matter where you're employed, and an incident doesn't have to include assault or direct sexual harassment to be an inappropriate abuse of power. So while it's hard to imagine what Fuller House will look like as it moves forward without the influence of its creator, fans should rest easy.
This show and this world have had a life of their own for three decades now, and one change in leadership isn't going to sink the ship. Especially when that change was made with the intention of creating a safe and respectful workplace for all.