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Fred Savage is defending himself amid allegations of inappropriate conduct on the set of ABC's The Wonder Years reboot.
In a shocking exposé published by the Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, a group of unnamed women who worked on the show's crew -- on which Savage was working as an executive producer and director -- have come forth to make public their claims of his alleged misconduct towards women that ultimately led to an investigation and Savage's firing by the network earlier this year.
In a statement, Savage tells THR: "Since I was 6 years old, I have worked on hundreds of sets with thousands of people, and have always strived to contribute to an inclusive, safe and supportive work environment. It is devastating to learn that there are co-workers who feel I have fallen short of these goals. While there are some incidents being reported that absolutely did not and could not have happened, any one person who feels hurt or offended by my actions is one person too many. I will work to address and change any behavior that has negatively affected anyone, as nothing in this world is more important to me than being a supportive co-worker, friend, husband, father and person."
Savage's accusers said they were requesting anonymity for fear of potential damage to their careers. Among their accusations against the star: verbal harassment, alleged assault, and "manipulative and erratic" behavior, THR reports. "His eyes would go dead," one accuser said, claiming that he only engaged in said behavior with "below-the-line employees who don't have power."
"We all felt supported by Fred. We truly thought he supported women. He told us he supported women. But this kind of support isn’t real," another woman told THR.
Several crewmembers claimed to feel a "strangeness" surrounding Savage's relationship with one much younger woman who worked on the crew, saying that she moved into the Atlanta home that he occupied during filming. (Savage is 46 and married with children.) The woman in question declined to be interviewed for THR'sarticle, but others allege that he bought her gifts, discussed the future and was "extremely controlling of her daily behaviors." It was this alleged relationship, the accusers say, that prompted them to complain to Disney HR.
Another accuser claims to have been unsettled by Savage's alleged "very blatant favoritism" toward another crew member, a woman in her early 30s. That woman claims to have had a friendly, albeit close, platonic relationship with Savage until her firing from the show. (She adds that she does not believe her own firing from the show was at his direction.)
Later, she claims to have been invited to a bar where the crew was partying. According to her statements, the director approached her with "just like, dead eyes" and pushed her against a bathroom wall, despite her protests. "He put his mouth on mine very forcefully. He went for the top of my pants. I brushed him away. Then he put his mouth on mine again, grabbed my hand and pulled it on his groin area," she claims. "I was pulling back. He stopped very angrily. I shoulder checked him so I could get out."
The accuser says that Savage left with the aforementioned younger crew member, but later texted to ask her to come to his house. She says that she rebuffed the request with a lighthearted rejection. "I was honestly scared of him for the first time," she told THR, noting that he later apologized for being "a huge a**h***."
This is not the first time Savage has been accused of misconduct. Back in 2018, a former wardrobe department crew member on Fox's 2015 show, The Grinder, sued Savage for assault, battery and harassment. The woman also sued 20th Television (then known as 20th Century Fox Television) for discrimination and failing to prevent discrimination and harassment, among other things. The lawsuit alleged that Fox was more concerned with protecting Savage than preventing harassment towards the woman and other female crew members. Savage vehemently denied the claims.
That same year, The Wonder Years actress Alley Mills claimed the cancellation of the original series came after a "completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit" filed against Savage, who was 16 at the time, and co-star Jason Hervey, who was 20 at the time. According to Deadline, Mills said that case was settled out of court.