In a personal essay, actor Leonard Roberts broke his silence about his 2007 firing from Heroes, citing racism and a conflict with his former co-star, Ali Larter.

In response, the 44-year-old actress issued a public apology to her former co-star. NBC, which co-produced and aired the hit sci-fi series between 2006 and 2010, have not responded to the actor’s claims, made in Variety on Wednesday, Dec. 16. Variety corroborated Roberts’ account with 10 people who either worked on Heroes at the time or were contemporaneously familiar with his experience on the show. 

In his essay, Roberts, 48, wrote about how on-set tension with Larter led to his firing and said he felt disrespected “as an actor, a Black man, and a human being” after a meeting about his departure. Roberts’ character, D.L. Hawkins, was married to Larter’s Niki Sanders and both debuted in season one: She in the pilot and he after a few episodes. In his essay, the actor wrote that he found himself on “the receiving end of pushback from my co-star regarding the playing of a particularly tense scene.”

“I am deeply saddened to hear about Leonard Roberts’ experience on Heroes and I am heartbroken reading his perception of our relationship, which absolutely doesn’t match my memory nor experience on the show,” Larter said in a statement to E! News. “I respect Leonard as an artist and I applaud him or anyone using their voice and platform. I am truly sorry for any role I may have played in his painful experience during that time and I wish him and his family the very best.” 

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