American Housewife star Carly Hughes has departed the ABC comedy after four seasons, alleging a "toxic environment" and "discrimination" as reasons for her leave.
Hughes, who was the only Black series regular on the sitcom, appeared on the show through series 4 and in the season 5 premiere on Oct. 28 but her name was no longer in the credits beginning with episode 2.
"I was no longer able to work in the toxic environment that was created on American Housewife," the actress told Deadline in a statement. "I made the decision to leave to protect myself from that type of discrimination. As a Black woman in entertainment, I feel the responsibility to stand up for what I deserve, what we all deserve — to be treated equally. I wish the show well, and I am excited for a new chapter and to be able to pursue the opportunities ahead."
In the sitcom, Hughes played Angela, a supportive friend to Katie Otto (Katy Mixon), a newcomer to Westport, Connecticut, along with Doris (Ali Wong).
According to Deadline, ABC Signature, the show's production company, launched an HR investigation following Hughes' claims and has also begun to look into other allegations from production members.
Following the "extensive" investigation, American Housewife creator Sarah Dunn is no longer an "active producer" on the show, Mark J. Greenberg stepped down as line producer, and showrunners Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz underwent sensitivity training.
"Carly was a valued member of the cast, and we had hoped she would return to the show this season," a spokesperson for the ABC show said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "The concerns she raised led to positive changes to the workplace and improvements to the culture, but we respect the decision she made to move on. We wish her nothing but the best."
Representatives for Hughes did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Hughes is best known for her stage work, recently starring on Broadway in Chicago, Pippin, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. She has also appeared in Netflix's Insatiable, Curb Your Enthusiasm and will next be seen in the upcoming Lifetime film The Christmas Edition.
Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood's Julia Butters, who played Anna-Kat Otto on the ABC series, also exited the show and was recast with Giselle Eisenberg for season 5.
Holly Robinson Peete will also be joining this season as a close friend of Katie's, Deadline reported.
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