Zoe McLellan played a tough agent on NCIS: New Orleans. Behind the scenes, the actress has been fighting a lengthy legal battle against her ex-husband, JP Gillain. Abuse charges were officially filed against the Los Angeles actor. Here’s what McLellan says about the heartbreaking situation.
The real reason for Zoe McLellan’s ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ exit is unclear
NCIS: New Orleans fans know Zoe McLellan as NCIS agent, Meredith Brody. The actress left the show in 2016, but the reasons surrounding her exit are murky, at best.
At the time, reports stated McLellan left NCIS: New Orleans to pursue her role as Kendra Baynes on Designated Survivor. Subsequent explanations allude to the fact that she was fired.
McLellan’s departure may have played a role in harassment allegations that surfaced in 2018. Producer, Brad Kern, was fired after two 2016 investigations for his “discriminatory and harassing” behavior. The allegations refer to harassment against women and people of color, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Kern’s firing became the focus of an in-depth story via Variety in 2017. The expose documented Kern’s behavior, which spanned 15 years and more than a dozen people affected — possibly McLellan.
Sources told the outlet Kern spoke of McLellan, saying her exit was because men didn’t find her desirable enough. The actress is the first of series regulars to leave the show. Shalita Grant followed in 2018, and Lucas Black in 2019.
McLellan’s battle against Gillain got pretty intense
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This is me having faith. This has been a long hard battle but every day I count my blessings. Every day I tell myself we will get through this. Every day I tell myself the truth will be seen. Every day. I want to thank each and everyone of you who have donated. And thank you for all of your beautiful messages. Thank you for reminding me that I am not in this alone. Thank you for literally helping me save my son’s life. Litigation is very expensive and I still need help. Will you please share this post? Will you please share the fundraiser link? Will you keep the faith with me? Thank you. #BelieveTheChild #ZoesChild
For years, McLellan and Gillain disputed custody over their only son, Sebastian. Gillain previously filed child abduction charges when McLellan moved to Toronto, Canada to film Designated Survivor. The judge ruled in McLellan’s favor. She even had co-star Scott Bakula’s testimonial to help her case. But, it didn’t end there.
Gillain has been arrested on charges of first-degree rape and aggravated crime against nature. The events allegedly occurred in Metairie, where Gillain lived part-time in 2015. The victim discussed details of alleged abuse with a therapist, Assistant Jefferson Parish District Attorney Shannon Swaim told the court.
The charges carry a mandatory sentence of life in jail (if convicted). The victim, McLellan says, is their son, who is now 7 years old.
Gillain’s defense attorney, Steven Lemoine, said the victim’s accounts have been inconsisent and that Gillain is not a flight risk. However, the judge still ordered a $1.25 million bond.
An 18-month order of protection order prevents Gillain from contacting the victim, relatives or friends of McLellan. Ironically, Gillain was extradited from California and booked into the Jefferson Parish prison, where NCIS: New Orleans is based.
Magistrate Commissioner, Patricia Joyce, ordered that Gillain, a native of Belgium, “surrender his the United States and Belgian passports,” according to NOLA.com.
McLellan said the new charges aren’t related to the former couple’s previous legal issues. The NCIS actress founded the Believe the Child Campaign, which helps families pay for legal action and therapy for abused children.
Here’s what McLellan says about the situation now
McLellan took part in the 2019 film, Gaslit. She (mostly) took a step out of the spotlight to focus on her son. As for the new charges against Gillain, McLellan’s reaction is relief.
“The truth is out there and this is absolutely not that,” McLellan told WDSU News. “Thank God that the law enforcement in Jefferson Parish saw that and have taken action.”
She continued: “There’s no script I’ve ever read that’s been as awful as this. However, I always tell my son that we are warriors, not worriers, and we are fighting for him and that I will be able to keep him safe.”
McLellan is no longer a part of NCIS: New Orleans, but still beloved by many. She’s speaking out now in case there are other victims.
“There are other victims,” she said. “I am hopeful that they will step forward, that they will have the courage to step forward because there are other victims.”
How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
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