Former 'Desperate Housewives' actress Nicollette Sheridan has described the show's producer Marc Cherry's behaviour towards her as ''abusive and appalling''.
The British-born actress - who is suing the TV executive for $20 million, alleging he hit her across the face and sacked her when she complained to network ABC - "felt compelled" to take legal action to help others who have been forced to work in a "hostile environment".
A statement from her lawyer said: "Nicollette worked very hard on the show and was a model employee. Mr. Cherry's behaviour towards Nicollette was and is nothing short of abusive and appalling. The lawsuit is not something Nicollette wanted to do, it's something she felt compelled to do. Nicollette asked ABC for help and protection from Mr. Cherry's abusive behaviour, and, ultimately, ABC was not willing or able to provide that protection. Sometimes the only way that a safe and normal work environment can be created is when a hard-working person like Nicollette stands up for herself and her rights, and in doing so help protect others who have had to work in a hostile environment."
The 46-year-old actress - who portrayed maneater Edie Britt in the show - filed a lawsuit against the TV executive at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday (05.04.10) which alleged assault and battery, gender violence and wrongful termination.
The blonde actress' departure was announced in February 2009, and she was killed-off from the programme in series five, when her alter-ego died in a car accident.
Nicollette is determined to see the case through, because she adored working on the show so much.
The statement added: "We expect the case to be hard fought, and it will not be a surprise if ABC and Mr. Cherry try to depict Nicollette to be something other than a team player and long-standing industry professional. She put her heart and soul into the role of the Edie character, a character that she truly enjoyed playing."
Meanwhile, it has been claimed that while Nicollette's co-stars - which include Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria-Parker and MARCIA CROSS - want to support her, they are desperate not to upset Cherry and put their jobs in jeopardy.
A source told the New York Daily News newspaper: "They're all silently behind her, but the actresses on the show enjoy the fame and success that Cherry has created for them. It's unlikely that anyone will step forward to support Nicollette - their characters are all still alive on the show, and they have a lot more to lose than she does."