Comic actor Anthony Anderson, shooting a movie in a Memphis jail this week, has been accused of sexually assaulting an extra there, an offense that could land him back in the jail as an inmate. According to the Associated Press, the ”Barbershop” and ”Kangaroo Jack” star, who is co-starring in a movie called ”Hustle & Flow,” is charged with aggravated rape for the alleged assault on a 25-year-old extra on Tuesday night. Also charged is the movie’s assistant director, Wayne Witherspoon. Both men have been released on $20,000 bail.
According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, Anderson and Witherspoon allegedly lured the woman into a trailer on the set at the county jail. A witness reportedly heard screams coming from the trailer and opened the door. The woman ran out nude, sheriff’s spokesperson Steve Shular said.
Anderson, 33, who drew on his life as a family man for his short-lived WB sitcom ”All About the Andersons,” denied the charge through a spokesman. ”Anthony is a happily married family man who has never been accused of — no less involved in — anything remotely like this, and we are confident that when all the facts come out, he will be completely exonerated,” spokesman Allan Mayer said. Walter Bailey, the attorney representing both Anderson and Witherspoon, called the charges against both men ”unfounded,” the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports.
Both Anderson and Witherspoon briefly appeared in court on Thursday and were told to return to court on Aug. 19. Anderson then went back to work on the movie, but Witherspoon left the set and was replaced by another assistant director, the Commercial Appeal reports. Producers declined to comment on whether he had left voluntarily or was fired.