A movie producer claiming to be a close friend of Nichelle Nichols said she’s heartbroken to hear of the distressing news concerning the pop culture icon.
“I am extremely angry,” Angelique Fawcette told Fox News about the recent reports. “I have been trying for this past year to stand up for her and her rights and dignity. It has been extremely challenging… I am very upset by the video and audio that was released.”
The 86-year-old who played Lt. Nyota Uhura on the original “Star Trek” television series in the 1960s is reportedly heard screaming for help in audio obtained by an Atlanta news station earlier this week.
The actress, who is reportedly suffering from dementia, is engaged in a guardianship battle that involves her son Kyle Johnson, Atlanta’s WGCL-TV reported Tuesday.
In response to the allegations, Johnson, 67, told Fox News: “I have no interest in providing a comment.”
According to the report, a voice said to be that of Nichols is heard shouting in the recording, “You get your hands off me! You’re trying to get rid of me!”
Loud shrieking is also heard on the audio, which was recorded April 23, the station reported.
The station says the star’s manager Gilbert Bell supplied video and audio in which Nichols reportedly discusses her son’s efforts to gain control of her estate.
“I’m the boss of me, Gil. He’s not the boss of me,” a voice said to be that of Nichols is heard saying at one point.
Later the voice is heard saying “I didn’t give permission to have conservatorship over me. I didn’t know what he was doing.”
Fawcette, a filmmaker and actress, told Fox News she first met Nichols on the set of “Unbelievable!!!!!” in 2012 in which she cast 40 “Star Trek” stars. She said the two women became close on set and Fawcette even visited her twice a month in recent years.
“I met her as an actress for my first feature film,” she explained. “She knew I was a first-time filmmaker. And yet, she supported me all the way through my film. She gave me away to my husband in marriage.”
Fawcette said she recorded a video of Nichols in 2013 where she reveals her desire to be her own legal guardian and continue working. Fawcette claimed that at the time, Nichols' son was attempting to put her in a rest home.
“She was so upset with her son, that’s when she came to my house to make those videos,” said Fawcette. “She was trying to protect herself and prepare for anything that would happen, no matter what level of health she was at. From then to now, she didn’t have memory loss, at least I didn’t notice it. And I was around her quite often… Her dignity should be preserved, no matter what.”
Fawcette also insisted Nichols’ dementia diagnosis is not credible, adding she last saw the actress about two or three weeks ago.
“I know she has memory loss,” Fawcette explains. “That’s very clear. She’s like a grandma who forgets her keys and misplaces things here and there. [But] she knows who she is. She knows where she is. She knows when she’s stuck in the house… She does not have delusions… If she’s so bad with dementia, how would she know she hasn’t been to court? If she’s so destitute, how does she remember her son’s full name? She does need 24-hour care because she’s older and needs help around the house, but she still enjoys taking care of herself. She loves writing to her fans. That’s what keeps her going and happy.”
The Daily Mail reported Nichols was placed under four temporary conservators in May 2018 after her son told a court she was suffering from severe memory loss. At the time, Fawcette released a video obtained by the UK-based site taken in 2013 showing Nichols expressing her frustration over her son’s attempts to stop her from working.
At the time, TMZ also reported Johnson filed legal documents nominating four fiduciaries to become his mother’s conservators, which would give them control over her finances, as well as decisions related to her health. Johnson said this was necessary because her dementia is “impacting her executive functioning” and makes her “susceptible to undue influence.”
“Certain individuals have unduly exerted themselves into Ms. Nichols’ life to her detriment,” he added.
According to August 2018 court documents obtained by People magazine, Fawcette objected to Johnson’s petition to be named Nichols’ conservator. Fawcette argued that the star was “perfectly able to manage her financial and personal affairs,” pointing to the 2013 video as evidence that Nichols is “well, spoken, coherent and articulate,” noting her “active, current involvement in the film industry, including frequent visits to many ‘Star Trek’ entertainment conventions, acting roles in new films and interviews with the largest U.S. newspapers.”
In those documents, Fawcette also alleged that Johnson’s “primary purpose” in becoming his mother’s conservator was to obtain access to her estate, “including, but not limited to, her income and personal and real property.” Fawcette also insisted Johnson is “absolutely careless” with Nichols’ wellbeing and “except for a few occasions over the last six years, did not bother to visit [her].” She said Johnson’s plan was to place Nichols in a rest home to “preclude her from acting and gain ownership and possession over her income home and other property.”
Fawcette said she is aware that by speaking out, chances are Johnson won’t allow her to visit Nichols again. However, Fawcette insisted she just wants her friend to live long and prosper on her own terms.
“Right now her life is being decided for her,” claimed Fawcette. “This can happen to anyone… Conservators can come over and take over your entire life. Everything you worked hard for can be gone… I’m concerned about her every day. What’s really going behind closed doors?”
Following the release of the shocking recordings, Los Angeles Police Department detectives visited Nichols’ home and interviewed her and her son Tuesday night, the station reported.
Nichols has had other health issues in recent years. In 2015, she suffered a minor stroke.
During the third season of “Star Trek,” Nichols and series star William Shatner, who played Capt. James Kirk, made TV history when they shared an interracial kiss.
One season earlier, Nichols was convinced to remain on the series after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. praised her for helping to break racial stereotypes with her portrayal of Lt. Uhura.
Fox News’ Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.