The Equalizer star Queen Latifah spoke out about the sexual assault allegations against her former co-star Chris Noth and CBS' decision to fire him. In December, at least four women accused Noth of sexual assault. Noth played William Bishop, a close friend of Latifah's Robyn McCall, on The Equalizer, which is now in its second season.
"It's still surreal. It is such a dicey, delicate situation that requires a great deal of respect," Latifah told PEOPLE (the TV Show!) Monday when asked about Noth's firing. "That's a personal thing that he's going to have to deal with." She added that the writers are still in the process of writing off Bishop.
"We are figuring out what we want to do creatively on the show and how we're going to deal with that character," Latifah said. "Chris's character's obviously a big part of the show and it was amazing chemistry, amazing chemistry... and my feeling is justice has to prevail regardless. I just want the right things to be done, you know?"
Latifah and Noth started filming The Equalizer in 2020. The 10-episode first season aired between February and May 2021. The show was picked up for a second season, which debuted in October. At the time Noth was fired on Dec. 20, CBS and series producer Universal Television said he appeared in one filmed episode that had yet to air. Noth appeared in the Jan. 2 episode "Separated."
The first allegations against Noth came on Dec. 16 when two women identified as Zoe and Lily accused Noth of sexually assaulting them in 2004 and 2015, respectively, in interviews with The Hollywood Reporter. Noth denied the allegations, insisting that their encounters were "consensual."
"The accusations against me made by individuals I met years, even decades, ago are categorically false," Noth said in a statement to THR. "These stories could've been from 30 years ago or 30 days ago – no always means no – that is a line I did not cross. It's difficult not to question the timing of these stories coming out. I don't know for certain why they are surfacing now, but I do know this: I did not assault these women."
A third woman, identified as Ava, accused Noth of sexually assaulting her in 2010 during an interview with The Daily Beast. Noth denied Ava's allegations through a representative. Singer Lisa Gentile also accused Noth of assaulting her in 2002. Noth has not responded to Gentile's claims.
The first allegations against Noth were published a week after he appeared in HBO Max's Sex and the City sequel series And Just Like That... as Mr. Big. Although his character died in the premiere, he filmed a brief scene with Sarah Jessica Parker in Paris for the Feb. 3 finale. The scene has reportedly been cut after producers decided it was not necessary.
Parker and her Sex and the City co-stars Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis issued a joint statement in support of the alleged victims. "We are deeply saddened to hear the allegations against Chris Noth," the actors said. "We support the women who have come forward and shared their painful experiences. We know it must be a very difficult thing to do and we commend them for it."
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.