Olivia Munn shunned by Predator cast after complaining about sex offender: ‘I’m being treated like I’m the one who went to jail’
September 10, 2018
|Olivia Munn, pictured in 2017|
|Olivia Munn shunned by Predator cast after complaining about sex offender: ‘I’m being treated like I’m the one who went to jail’ Shane Black on the set of Iron Man 3|
Hours before The Predator premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, the studio behind the sci-fi film revealed it had cut a scene featuring Steven Wilder Striegel after learning the actor was a registered sex offender. "Our studio was not aware of Mr Striegel's background,” Twentieth Century Fox said on Thursday.
But now the actress who brought the matter to Fox’s attention says she has been shunned by fellow cast-members, that her concerns were initially met with silence by the studio, and that she has been made to feel like a criminal.
Olivia Munn, 38, the only cast member to appear on screen with Striegel, made contact with Fox after learning he had served a jail sentence for making sexual advances towards a minor.
“When I called, [Fox] was silent for two days,” she told Variety. “I’m not saying they weren’t working on it behind the scenes… I just didn’t hear anything about it.”
She added: “I did have to reach out again and say I didn’t feel comfortable presenting at the MTV Awards with [Predator co-star Keegan-Michael Key] unless this guy [Striegel] was out of it.”
Fox have said Striegel’s only scene was cut within 24 hours of the studio learning about his criminal record.
“We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors," the studio said.
The Predator, a remake of the 1987 thriller, also stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Sterling K Brown and Thomas Jane.
Several of Munn’s co-stars are understood to have dropped out of a planned group interview with the Hollywood Reporter, leaving the X-Men star to face the press almost alone – with 11-year-old Room actor Jacob Tremblay the only other cast member to turn up. Key was not scheduled to attend.
"It’s a very lonely feeling to be sitting here by myself when I should be sitting here with the rest of the cast,” Munn told the Hollywood Reporter this weekend.
“I do feel like I’ve been treated by some people that I’m the one who went to jail or I’m the one that put this guy on set… There are people who get very mad at you for not just helping them bury it."
Striegel is a friend of Predator director Shane Black, who had previously cast him in his films Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. The actor spent six months in jail after pleading guilty to risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer, after admitting to sending inappropriate emails to a 14-year-old girl.
"I apologise to all of those, past and present, I've let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision," said Black, 56, in a statement on Thursday.
"Having read this morning's news reports, it has sadly become clear to me that I was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction.
“I believe strongly in giving people second chances – but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped."
While Black has apologised publicly, Munn says that he has not spoken to her directly about the issue. “I haven’t heard from Shane,” she said. “I did see his apology that he put out. I appreciate the apology. I would have appreciated it more if it was directed toward me privately before it went public and I had to see it online with everyone else.”
Munn has said that she received a similar silence from the cast ahead of Thursday’s screening. Although Black did not attend the premiere, members of the film’s cast reportedly gave the director a standing ovation at the beginning of the screening.
“I looked back and I see the guys [including Holbrook, Rhodes and Key] standing up, and I was just confused, because I hadn’t heard from them during the day,” she told Vanity Fair. “Everybody else was sitting down—it wasn’t like this massive standing ovation for him.
“I felt it was still appropriate to clap and cheer, but to actually make that gesture to stand up, especially in this moment . . . and privately I knew that no one reached out to me to say, ‘Are you OK?’ It did feel bad.” Munn has since used her social media platforms to draw attention to the casting controversy.
The actress is a prominent supporter of the Time's Up campaign against sexual harassment, and last year accused the director Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct on the set of his film After the Sunset (an accusation Ratner has vehemently denied). Her recent experiences, she told Vanity Fair, have led her to believe that "there will be people in Time’s Up who aren’t really down with the cause.”
On Twitter, Munn was asked why she has continued to give interviews promoting The Predator. "I’m contractually obligated," she replied. "And from what I’m experiencing, I think they’d prefer I not show up. It would make everyone breathe easier. Also, I worked really hard on this film, as did the rest of the cast and crew. Now that the scene is deleted I think audiences will love it."
Emmy-winner Brown, 42, who was not present at the festival, responded to Munn’s comments in a series of posts on Twitter. “I’m sorry you’re feeling so isolated, my dear,” he wrote. “And I’m sorry you’ve been the only one to speak up publicly.”
He added: “We all have the right to know who we’re working with! And when someone has been convicted of a crime of a sexual nature involving a child, we have the right to say that’s not okay! Our studio was not given that opportunity, and neither was our cast.”