"I was no longer able to work in the toxic environment that was created on American Housewife," Hughes said in a statement to Deadline. "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,” she added.
Hughes appeared on the first four seasons of the show and was featured in the season five premiere — which was mostly filmed prior to the COVID-19 lockdown in March. However, her name was no longer mentioned in episode two of season five.
"Carly was a valued member of the cast, and we had hoped she would return to the show this season," a spokesperson for American Housewife said in a statement. "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."
According to Deadline, ABC Signature launched an "extensive" investigation into the claims made by Hughes, who was the only Black series regular on the show. The investigation resulted in creator Sarah Dunn and line producer Mark J. Greenberg stepping down from producing duties and showrunners Rick Wiener and Kenny Schwartz undergoing sensitivity training.
Child actor Julia Butters, 11 — who played Anna-Kat Otto in the series — also recently left American Housewife and was replaced by Giselle Eisenberg, 13. Holly Robinson Peete is set to join the new season as Katie's longtime friend.