‘MacGyver’ Actor Lucas Till Says Ex-Showrunner Peter Lenkov Made Him ‘Suicidal’
Lucas Till, who stars in CBS’s MacGyver, has spoken out on the series’s former showrunner, Peter Lenkov’s, behavior. Till claimed Lenkov drove him to become “suicidal” during the first season of the show.
A recent Vanity Fair article has detailed Lenkov’s alleged behavior that led to his dismissal from the shows.
In the article, Till is quoted saying, “I’ve never worked this hard in my life, and I am fine with hard work. 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.”
Till told Vanity Fair that Lenkov drove him to his “breaking point” through bullying, verbal abuse and body-shaming, among other things. The actor also stated he has discussed the matter with CBS executives on numerous occasions and he sent a five-page letter to Human Resources about it.
In the letter, Till wrote, “There was always something about my appearance that wouldn’t please him like when I was in a hospital gown and our producer … thought it was funny that [Lenkov] said my legs were ‘f—ing hideous’ and we can never show them again. Honestly, I found some humor 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—ing God! Tuck his shirt in, he looks like a little f—ing boy.’ Just hire a 35-year-old then … 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.”
A MacGyver source validated Till’s statements and told Vanity Fair, “Peter has a thing against Lucas, you know? He just does. I witnessed Lucas change dramatically throughout this period, and it really hurt me. I hated seeing this happen with him because he’s a great guy, and there’s nothing wrong with him or his body.”
Although another source told Vanity Fair HR took Till’s letter about Lenkov seriously, Till said his impression was HR “took it as some crazy actor trying to get more money. Essentially, they didn’t take it seriously.”
After the allegations went public, one of Lenkov’s lawyers, Dale Kinsella, released a statement claiming that Till’s allegations were “100 percent false and untrue.” He continued to add that Lenkov “has championed him from the very beginning and has been nothing but supportive of him.”
But Lenkov himself released a statement 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.”
At the time of Lenkov’s firing and as the allegations against his behavior were made public, CBS TV Studios released a statement on how they were addressing the matter. “Peter Lenkov is no longer the executive producer overseeing MacGyver and Magnum P.I., and the studio has ended its relationship with him. 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.”
The studio added in the statement, “Our studio is committed to ensuring safe and respectful production environments. Over the past year, we have assigned human resource production partners to every show, expanded staff training and increased reporting options. We will continue to evolve our practices with continued focus on building trust with all who work on our sets. Every complaint is taken seriously, every claim is investigated, and when evidence is clear that policies were violated and values not upheld, we take decisive action.”