It looks like we may have an explanation for those cryptic tweets that Pauley Perrette posted on Sunday, and it has nothing to do with sexual assault (thank goodness). On Wednesday, TheWrap reported on a 2016 incident that allegedly drove a wedge between Perrette and her NCIS costar Mark Harmon, whose onscreen banter was the heart of the series for over a decade. In recent seasons, Perrette’s Abby and Harmon’s Gibbs have barely shared screen time — in Perrette’s final episode, Abby didn’t even say an in-person goodbye to her father figure and friend.
Allegedly, Harmon brought his dog to set in October 2016, and it bit an unidentified crew member while they were playing. The bite required 15 stitches. Sources told TheWrap that cast and crew felt uncomfortable with Harmon bringing his dog to set again, which he may have done after the incident occurred.
The outlet reports that despite this discomfort, cast and crew didn’t feel comfortable addressing the issue. That makes sense; in addition to starring on the crime drama, Harmon has also been an executive producer for NCIS since 2011, and he has producer credits dating back to 2008. Although workplace retaliation is generally frowned upon, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.
Perrette, on the other hand, was not afraid to call Harmon out about his dog’s behavior. TheWrap reports that she objected to the dog returning to set after it bit the crew member, and this created a rift between her and Harmon that led to the two of them never even filming in the same location for the duration of Perrette’s time on the show. Her tweets from Sunday mention that she had to “protect [her] crew,” including their jobs — it would seem that Perrette leveraged her popularity to help voice the crew’s concerns. Perrette’s Q Score positions her as the most popular woman in primetime television, per a survey of viewers, which gives her some solid bargaining power.
Maybe I'm wrong for not "spilling the beans" Telling the story, THE TRUTH. I feel I have to protect my crew, jobs and so many people. But at what cost? I.don't know. Just know, I'm trying to do the right thing, but maybe silence isn't the right thing about crime. I'm… Just… ?
— Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) May 13, 2018
When Abby’s departure was announced in October 2017, Perrette took to Twitter to assure fans that the decision was made in 2016 — and that whatever rumors they’d heard were not true. Now, obviously, the tables have turned, even if she hasn’t directly commented on her tweets.
So it is true that I am leaving NCIS…
There have been all kinds of false rumors as to why (NO I DON'T HAVE A SKIN CARE LINE… pic.twitter.com/gugM2a2ckT
— Pauley Perrette (@PauleyP) October 4, 2017
After she tweeted about “multiple physical assaults” on set this week, rumors started flying once more. Vanity Fair reached out to CBS for comment on the issue, and the network pointed to its original statement on her tweets. The statement read, “Pauley Perrette had a terrific run on N.C.I.S. and we are all going to miss her. Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows.”
Dog bites are no joke, and safe work environments are definitely important. If Perrette ultimately decided to leave NCIS because of what happened with Harmon and his dog, we totally support her. We’re also here for those in power speaking up for those who aren’t.