Fred Savage has been accused of harassing and assaulting a female member of wardrobe team on his Fox series “The Grinder.”
Crew member Youngjoo Hwang, who filed a lawsuit against Savage and Fox on Wednesday, has accused the 41-year-old of creating a hostile work environment, berating her and — on at least one occasion — physically assaulting her, TMZ reported. The incidents allegedly occurred in 2015.
Hwang claims that when she was brushing dandruff off of Savage’s clothing for a shoot, he “violently struck” her on her arm three times.
Hwang also alleges that Savage would often roll his eyes and glare at her, and that he had a reputation for being verbally abusive to female crew members.
In a news conference Wednesday, Hwang alleged that she was “scared of the abuse and what [she’d] have to encounter on any given day” at work, and claimed that her superiors encouraged her not to report Savage’s conduct because they were scared of losing their jobs.
She specifically notes in the suit that an executive producer told her, “I’m not even sure what Fred did constituted harassment and I don’t think you should report it to HR,” per TMZ.
Hwang is seeking unspecified emotional distress damages.
Savage told Page Six in a statement Wednesday that the claims against him are “absolutely untrue.”
I have witnessed tremendous courage over these past few months, watching brave women who have come forward publicly fighting through the shame and stigma of harassment. I’ve seen first-hand the growing support in this movement that has always felt so lacking. As someone who has always tried to live honorably and with integrity, it never dawned on me that my name could be on the other side.
I was made aware that a woman working in the costume department of a show I was on almost three years ago has claimed that I treated her harshly on set simply because she was a woman. These accusations are completely without merit and absolutely untrue. Fox conducted an extensive internal investigation into her claims, a process in which I fully participated. After concluding a thorough investigation, Fox determined that there was absolutely no evidence to support these accusations. None of her claims could be substantiated because they did not happen.
I have been working in the entertainment industry my whole life and have always endeavored to treat everyone on any set I work on respectfully and professionally. While none of the accusations being leveled at me are true, I wholeheartedly support all people who feel they are being mistreated come forward and speak to human resources and those in charge. We have witnessed so much bravery from those speaking out recently, but I will just as boldly protect myself and my family from those seeking to tarnish my good name. I cannot let these people in particular denigrate me while harming the message of thousands of women and others who have suffered and continue to suffer.
Fox also vigorously defended Savage.
“Fox takes all allegations of improper conduct very seriously. We conducted a thorough investigation into these allegations and found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Savage, ” a rep for the network told Page Six on Wednesday. “We will vigorously defend against these unfounded claims.”
However, Hwang’s attorney, Anahita Sedaghatfar, alleges that Fox did not conduct an independent investigation into the claims, and says that Savage’s attorneys have refused to speak with her or Hwang.
Sedaghatfar also claims that other women on the set of “The Grinder” filed complaints with Fox about Savage’s behavior, too, though she would not expound on who the other women are or what abuses they had alleged.
“The Grinder” ran from 2015 to 2016.
This isn’t the only complaint about Savage’s on-set behavior.
In January, it was revealed that the actor was sued for sexual harassment in 1993 during his tenure on “The Wonder Years.”
The suit, filed by a costume designer on the show, alleged that then 16-year-old Savage made sexual comments aimed at her and asked to have an affair with her. She claimed she was fired from the show as a result.
The suit, which also went after Savage’s co-star Jason Hervey, was eventually settled for an undisclosed sum.
Savage’s onscreen mother, Alley Mills, claims the show would have continued if it weren’t for the suit, which she dubbed “ridiculous.”
Source: Page Six (Jessica Sager)
Photo Credit: NY Daily News
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