Charlyne Yi Details Alleged Abuse on Set of Apple TV+ Series ‘Time Bandits’

Jason LaVeris
Jason LaVeris

Charlyne Yi has leveled some serious allegations against an unnamed actor they worked with on Taika Waititi’s upcoming Apple TV+ series Time Bandits, based on Terry Gilliam’s 1981 film of the same name. In an Instagram post from earlier this month, Yi said they were “not safe, supported, or protected,” on the Time Bandits set, as they were “physically assaulted multiple times by an actor, as well as psychologically abused.”

Yi, a voice actor, writer, and comedian who’s appeared in films like Knocked Up, This Is 40, and Always Be My Maybe, and voiced characters in Cartoon Network series like Steven Universe and We Bare Bears, goes on to say that the powers that be kept them from seeking any kind of accountability from this person. “I was gaslit by coworkers, producers, and HR,” they wrote, adding, “They debated my life, gaslit me, told me to feed my abusers’ ego… to submit to my abuser so he wouldn’t physically assault me anymore.”

Prior to this incident, which occurred about 18 months ago, show sources tell The Daily Beast, Yi has a history of making allegations against various stars on social media. On Twitter in 2017, they accused comedian and Arrested Development star David Cross of targeting them with racist jokes during an interaction they’d had a decade prior. The following year, also on Twitter, Yi accused Marilyn Manson of harassing them when they appeared as a series regular on the TV drama House.

A few years after that in 2021, Yi took to Instagram to call co-star James Franco a “predator” and announced that they tried to quit the film Disaster Artist they’d worked on together amid assault allegations made against him at the time. They also labeled Seth Rogen, a producer on the film, an “enabler” of Franco's behavior in the post.

Fast forward to 2024, and Yi is speaking publicly again about their experience with a Time Bandits costar who “pressed his body on my from behind, to the point I had to dig my feet into the ground to keep my stance during rehearsals and filming,” they said in a subsequent Instagram post on Wednesday, that offers new details about what went down.

They continued in the post, “I tried to shove him off. And he pushed down harder, and harder, til I felt my lower back compress, sending sharp pains through my whole body. I went into shock and denial. He did this multiple times, and I disassociated. When I went to the bathroom to throw up from the pain, he asked me where I was going, something he had never asked.”

A source close to the show tells The Daily Beast that an “extensive investigation” that included interviews with multiple witnesses, as well as “additional proactive steps,” taken to find corroboration for their account, found no confirmation of Yi's story. But Yi remains resolute about what happened to them on the set.

Yi said they went to the on-set doctor, who “gave my codeine for my chronic pain, but that only made me dumb and high. That did not fix my injury or protect me from my abuser,” they wrote. They describe this actor as a “covert narcissist,” who wanted to “publicly control his image after the abuse” by offering them gifts in front of crew members. Through it all, they said, they were continuously “stonewalled” when speaking up for themselves.

“I was stonewalled, told to be grateful for being on a high production set by a producer, told my back would be fine, minimizing the physical assaults,” they wrote this week. “I told them I was scared, could barely stand upright being in chronic pain, and mentally was not doing well, shaking in panic attacks unable to make it on set, vomiting, unable to sleep [because] of flashbacks, and losing hair.”

In a statement, Paramount TV Studios, which is producing Time Bandits for Apple TV+, told The Daily Beast, “The safety of our cast and crew is very important to us, and we take all concerns that are raised to us very seriously. At the time of the complaint, Paramount Television Studios conducted a full investigation regarding allegations that were brought to our attention. While all investigations are confidential and we cannot comment on specifics, additional steps were taken to address concerns.”

Ultimately, Yi said they were “coerced to quit. They rejected my workers comp supporting my recovery for my injured back and PTSD which my insurance does not cover.” However, a source tells The Daily Beast that Yi was invited to exit the show and break their contract after making it “repeatedly clear” they were unhappy on set. Additionally, workers comp claims are handled not by Paramount TV Studios, but by an external party—which The Daily Beast has learned Yi is currently working with, to obtain additional benefits.

The Daily Beast reached out to both Waititi and Yi for comment and has not received any on the record responses.

As for next steps, it’s unclear whether Yi plans to name their alleged assailant, but they are looking for a lawyer to seek “accountability and reparations,” even though they’ve been “blacklisted, [received] death threats, threatened to be sued, and fired,” they wrote, “any time I have spoken out.”

The caption for their latest post adds these concluding thoughts: “Paying me for episodes I was forced to leave, does not pay for the retaliation I was met with, and will be. Nor does it provide for my healthcare.”

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