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Wednesday’s Biggest Scandals: Working Conditions, Emmys Nomination Shade

Wednesday was the talk of the town when it premiered on Netflix — but not all of the discourse was positive.

The series reintroduced fans to a new version of Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) in November 2022. During season 1, the titular character attempted to master her psychic powers at Nevermore Academy while dealing with a killing spree at the hands of a mysterious monster.

Wednesday Addams previously became a cultural phenomenon after the Addams Family adaptation came out in the ’90s. Christina Ricci, who became a household name playing Wednesday Addams in in two movies, surprised viewers when she appeared in the Netflix version.

Following its debut, the streaming service reported that Wednesday was the second most-watched English-language series.

Wednesday was ultimately renewed for season 2 after scoring two Golden Globe nominations — including a best actress nod for Ortega. Wednesday also received multiple Emmy nominations, one of which was Outstanding Comedy Series.

Behind the scenes, however, a string of unexpected scandals and controversial moments sparked conversation.

Scroll down for details on the drama behind the hit Netflix series:

Jenna Ortega’s Comments About the Show’s Writing

In March 2023, Ortega raised eyebrows after claiming she was “changing lines” while filming Wednesday.

“The script supervisor thought that I was, like, going with something, and then I would have to sit down with the writers and they would be like, ‘Wait, what happened to this scene?’ And I would have to go through and explain why I couldn’t do certain things,” the actress said on the “Armchair Expert” podcast at the time. “I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down on a set in the way that I had to on Wednesday.”

She added: “Everything that she does, everything that I had to play, did not make sense for her character at all. Her being in a love triangle made no sense. There was a line about a dress that she has to wear for a school dance and she said, ‘Oh, my God, I love it. Ugh, I can’t believe I said that, I literally hate myself.’ And I had to go, ‘No.’”

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Ortega, who is credited as an executive producer for season 2, later defended her choice to ad-lib dialogue.

“When I went into Wednesday, I really put my foot down and made it clear that everything that I had to say mattered and was heard,” she shared during The Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Actress Roundtable in June 2023. “I’ve had experiences in TV where I felt my voice wasn’t heard, that I was meant to be a puppet. I’ve been told on sets, ‘You wouldn’t know because you’re not a writer,’ or, ‘Just shut up and do your job.’ From 12 years old, I’ve been hearing things like that.”

Percy Hynes White’s Sexual Assault Allegations

Wednesday-s Biggest Controversies- From Questionable Working Conditions to Sexual Assault Allegations
Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Following Wednesday’s global success, multiple women accused White — who plays Xavier — of sexual assault.

“Hey everyone. There’s something I need to clarify. Earlier this year, somebody I’ve never met started a campaign of misinformation about me online. Because of this, my family has been doxed, and my friends have received death threats,” he claimed via Instagram in June 2023. “Underage photos of me were used, and examples of me acting in character were presented as hateful. My friend Jane was falsely portrayed as a victim, and her attempts to set the record straight have been ignored. She gave me permission to include her in this message. The rumors are false.”

White went on to slam the #CancelPercy trend that was started by fans on social media. “I can’t accept the portrayal of me as someone bigoted or criminally negligent of people’s safety. These are the kind of baseless, harmful claims that can create mistrust towards victims,” he concluded. “It’s very distressing to know that this misinformation has upset people. I’m really thankful for everyone who’s stood by me and helped share the facts. Harassment of my family, friends, and coworkers needs to stop, please. Thank you for taking the time to read this.”

Questions About the Working Conditions on Set

Wednesday-s Biggest Controversies- From Questionable Working Conditions to Sexual Assault Allegations
Vlad Cioplea/Netflix © 2022

Ortega made some startling statements about filming scenes during the coronavirus pandemic, claiming she worked while waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.

“It’s crazy because it was my first day with COVID, so it was awful to film,” she told NME in December 2022 about the show’s dance sequence which later went viral. “I never get sick and when I do it’s not very bad — I had the body aches. I felt like I’d been hit by a car and that a little goblin had been let loose in my throat and was scratching the walls of my oesophagus. They were giving me medicine between takes because we were waiting on the positive result.”

The production company behind the Netflix show, MGM, issued a statement to the outlet, asserting that “strict COVID protocols were followed and once the positive test was confirmed, production removed Jenna from set.”

The Show’s Emmy Nominations

Wednesday-s Biggest Controversies- From Questionable Working Conditions to Sexual Assault Allegations
Vlad Cioplea/Netflix © 2022

TV fans had plenty of questions after Netflix promoted Wednesday as a contender for the Emmys in the comedy category. The series was officially nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in July 2023 — with some viewers feeling that other shows were snubbed as a result.

Composer Danny Elfman’s Sexual Harassment Settlement Lawsuit

In July 2023, Elfman got sued for breach of contract for allegedly failing to make settlement payments due to sexual harassment accusations. Rolling Stone reported at the time that Elfman allegedly sexually harassed Grammy-nominated pianist Nomi Abadi in 2015 and 2016.

Elfman, for his part, denied the claims in a statement.

“How do I respond to accusations so serious that being innocent is not a valid defense? It is excruciating to consider that a 50-year career may be destroyed in one news cycle as a result of vicious and wholly false allegations about sexual misconduct,” he told the outlet. “Ms. Abadi’s allegations are simply not true. I allowed someone to get close to me without knowing that I was her ‘childhood crush’ and that her intention was to break up my marriage and replace my wife. When this person realized that I wanted distance from her, she made it clear that I would pay for having rejected her. I allowed an ill-advised friendship to have far-reaching consequences, and that error in judgment is entirely my fault. I have done nothing indecent or wrong, and my lawyers stand ready to prove with voluminous evidence that these accusations are false. This is the last I will say on this subject.”

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