Kurt Sutter, the co-creator of TV shows Sons of Anarchy and Mayans M.C., has been fired from US channel FX after complaints about his behaviour.
In a letter of apology to cast and crew, Sutter referred to his own 'arrogance and chronic distraction', and called himself 'an abrasive d*ck'.
“Apparently, Disney HR and Business Affairs has conducted an investigation into the unacceptable conditions that have been created on the set of Mayans in season 2,” he wrote in the letter, seen by The Hollywood Reporter.
“As you know, I’ve removed myself quite a bit this season, allowing others to take a bigger role in producing the show. It appears that philosophy has backfired. It’s been reported by writers, producers, cast and crew that my absence and subsequent behaviour when there, has only created confusion, chaos, hostility and is perceived as abandonment. Or at least that’s how Disney has interpreted it. I’m sure it’s true.
“This morning I was fired by Dana Walden and John Landgraf for all the complaints levied against me. Not the way I wanted to end my 18 year relationship with FX. At least being fired for being an abrasive d**k is on brand.
“I deeply apologise if I’ve made people feel less than or unsupported. My intention was literally the opposite. But clearly I’ve not been paying attention. My arrogance and chronic distraction has created wreckage. Just know, I adore this cast and crew.”
Sutter worked as a writer, producer and director on The Shield before creating biker drama Sons of Anarchy in 2008.
Mayans M.C., set around a Mexican-American biker club, was a spin off series from Sons of Anarchy, airing its first series in 2018. The second series of Mayans, which aired its first episode last month, had just wrapped as Sutter confirmed news of his firing.
At the premiere of the first episode of Mayans S2 in August, Sutter revealed he was taking a back seat on the show, handing over the reins to co-creator Elgin James.
“It’s time for the white guy to leave the building,” Sutter joked. “If we are lucky enough to have a season 3, I will be stepping back as day to day showrunner and handing the reins to my talented and passionate partner, Elgin James.”
However, it seems that following the takeover of FX by Disney earlier this year, part of its acquisition of parent company Fox, Sutter began butting heads with new management.
In a separate letter, published on Deadline, Sutter said that he feels ‘deeply wronged’ by the firing, and that he’s the subject of ‘a false narrative that could damage my reputation and career’.
“The truth is, the suits wanted me gone. I stepped on toes and bruised egos. And in this Disney regime, I’m dangerous to the wholesome brand,” he writes. “And clearly not worth the trouble. So 18 years of friendship, loyalty and producing quality television, was flushed down the drain. They threw me under the f**king bus.”
He says that while the atmosphere with him on the set was not ‘all sunshine and roses’, the claims by Disney HR that he ‘created a climate of hostility, favoritism and enabled a set where no one felt safe or appreciated’ are ‘not true’.
He has also taken issue with what he says was interference in the making and writing of the show from new executives.
“I’ve felt the creative scrutiny of Disney from day one,” he goes on. “Notes on scripts and cuts have been heavy handed. Demanding a level of dumbing-down story and inane PC restraints like I’ve never experienced before. I genuinely feared for the creative future of the storytelling. So I pushed back. Hard. No different than I have in the past. In fact, much tamer than I ever was on SOA. However, I was dealing with personnel who didn’t know me. And my level of… passion. Clearly I ruffled a few mouse ears.”
FX and Disney have yet to comment on the matter.