Studio 20th Century Fox Television said that it found “no evidence of any wrongdoing” on the part of Fred Savage in a completed investigation into claims that the actor verbally harassed female crew members on the set of comedy series “The Grinder.”
“Fox takes all allegations of improper conduct very seriously,” a 20th Century Fox spokesperson said Wednesday. “We conducted a thorough investigation into these allegations and found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Savage. We will vigorously defend against these unfounded claims.”
A former female crew member on Wednesday filed suit against Savage and Fox, claiming she was subject to “an extremely hostile work environment” created by Savage, whose “aggressive behavior, intimidation, and constant use of profanities aimed toward female employees was left unchecked.” The plaintiff, Younjoo Hwang, worked in wardrobe on the series.
Savage denied the allegations in a prepared statement Wednesday, saying “These accusations are completely without merit and absolutely untrue.”
“The Grinder” aired for one season on Fox, in 2015-16. The single-camera comedy starred Rob Lowe as a floundering TV star who, after his legal drama is canceled, returns to his hometown to work with his brother, played by Savage, at their family’s law firm.
Savage is currently under an overall deal at 20th Century Fox Television to develop and produce series. A former child star who was the lead on ABC’s classic family drama “The Wonder Years,” he has since become a prolific television director, helming nearly 20 episodes of “2 Broke Girls,” seven episodes of “Modern Family,” “Garfunkel and Oates,” Hulu’s “Casual,” “The Goldbergs,” “Playing House” and more. On the producing side, Savage was an exec producer on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Party Down,” “Phil of the Future” and more.
At a press conference Wednesday, Hwang’s attorney, Anahita Sedaghatfar, that she made requests to meet with Savage’s legal team to come to an agreement, which Savage allegedly refused. According to Sedaghatfar, Hwang is not the first woman to accuse Savage of inappropriate conduct.
“I look forward to ensuring that [Savage] will no longer have the opportunity to harm a woman again,” she said.
Sedaghatfar also said that her team is pursuing monetary compensation emotional distress damages for Hwang, and that her private investigation allegedly corroborated Hwang’s claims. She cited the #MeToo movement as an empowering force allowing Hwang and others to come forward about alleged abuse.
Read the full statement from Savage below:
“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.”