Sleepy Hollow Alleged To Be An Awful Experience Behind The Scenes

Sleepy Hollow allegedly suffered from high turnover and weak leadership.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

The fictional town of Sleepy Hollow has always seemed like an unpleasant place to live, and allegedly it seems like the set of the Fox TV show wasn’t such a great place to be either. The Hollywood Reporter reported on the book expose Burn it Down by Maureen Ryan, which details “grueling” working conditions, confusion, and “creative floundering” among the show’s leadership. Additionally, it details a disparity in treatment between stars Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison.

Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison starred as Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane, respectively, in Sleepy Hollow, which ran on Fox from 2013 to 2017. According to the report, the two didn’t get along very well on set, which is allegedly why Mison bowed in a scene with Beharie because they didn’t want to hug each other. This alleged conflict between the co-stars also apparently carried over to the show’s story, as the writers didn’t pair them together romantically.

According to Ryan’s book, she spoke to multiple sources from Sleepy Hollow that said the creative mismanagement and high turnover resulted in a hostile work environment for Beharie. These sources claimed that people high up on the show would say they didn’t have “a good experience with Nicole,” a sentiment that would allegedly spread to others on the production even if they hadn’t worked with her. A source also told Ryan, It created a very us-against-her environment from day one.”

As mentioned, there was an alleged disparity in treatment between Berharie and Mison on Sleepy Hollow, despite both of them having struggles adjusting to being the star of a massive show. Their co-star Orlando Jones told Ryan both stars were “out of their depths” and “no one was helping them.” Another source noted that both of them were going through “steep learning curves that sometimes involved friction with colleagues,” but Beharie’s learning curves weren’t met with as much understanding as Mison’s.

Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow

Berharie herself pointed out the disparity in treatment in 2020, saying how Mison and her both became ill while filming the first season of Sleepy Hollow. Mison was allowed to return to the UK to recover, while Berharie ended up staying to film an episode on her own and getting sick enough to need to go to urgent care. The report alleges that the aforementioned “creative floundering” of leadership and the high employee turnover also likely contributed to these alleged issues.

Sleepy Hollow writer Shernold Edwards also called the experience “hellish” and discussed an alleged incident with showrunner Clifton Campbell where Campbell “went off” and called Berharie “crazy” when Edwards asked if she could speak with Berharie. Campbell has denied these allegations and has stated the two stars were treated equally on set. Sources have also alleged that Campbell would become emotional and defensive when Black writers would make suggestions about certain aspects of the script and when fans would give backlash on the treatment of Beharie’s character.

Notably, the book points out that the big shifts in the writer’s room would also contribute to the creative floundering and hostile work environment, with Ryan pointing out that there were three people of color in the writer’s room for the first season and the writer’s room for the second season was all white males with one woman of color. Another alleged incidence of racial bias was when Fox executives were resistant to black hairstyles being present on the show before Beharie’s request to wear her own personal wigs was eventually granted for her final season. Overall, it certainly sounds like Sleepy Hollow was not the best place to be behind the scenes.