In the wake of Morgan Spurlock stepping down from his production company after taking to social media to confess to various allegations of sexual impropriety and inappropriate behavior, both the filmmaker and producer and his Warrior Poets production banner have come under fire. A new piece over on Jezebel alleges that Spurlock’s production company is one built on a “fratty, boys’ club” culture, and that they were party to various acts of harassment at the hands of both Spurlock and his long-time partner Jeremy Chilnick.
The outlet spoke with seven former Warrior Poets employees, all of whom preferred to remain anonymous because they are still working in the entertainment industry. Among their allegations are claims that “‘garish and gross’ nude paintings hung in the office, alcoholic drinks were pushed on employees whether they wanted them or not, and women’s appearances were frequently and openly commented on by both Spurlock and his COO Jeremy Chilnick.” The pair co-founded the New York–based production company in 2004.
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One former employee told Jezebel that, “When women would come in for meetings and they were conventionally attractive women, very dolled up, Jeremy and or Morgan would say after she left, ‘she gave good meeting.’…It was sexual in nature. They were talking about her appearance and, presumably, not what she offered.”
Another former employee said that obsession with sexuality also extended to projects the company was working on. They told Jezebel, “If you were making a film or TV show about a woman character they’d say like, oh, cut that shot of the fat woman. …I was making a film with them at one point and when I first got the notes from Jeremy for the all female characters, he said, you already have two fat characters, why don’t you just cut the other ones.”
While Spurlock was not available for comment, he has at least one defender, an employee who told Jezebel “she’s found Warrior Poets to be supportive to many women, despite the fact that ‘bro culture’ does exist at the top tier.”
The piece also includes mention of Spurlock’s unnamed former assistant, who he referred to in his official statement, sharing that he would call her “hot pants” in the office. “She was beautiful and talented but she was also an incredibly smart business woman and she wasn’t treated as a business woman. She was just treated as Morgan’s hot assistant,” said one former employee.
While Spurlock’s alleged behavior is a large part of the piece, it also levels numerous accusations against Chilnick. One former employee told Jezebel, “I have to say I had many more problems with Jeremy than I did with Morgan,” while another said, “It was so shocking when [Morgan’s statement] came out because everybody knows that Jeremy is the problem.” Chilnick is now co-running Warrior Poets with partner Matthew Galkin.
Allegations against Chilnick describe him as “a manager with inappropriate boundaries,” and at least three former employees shared stories about getting “unwanted neck massages” from the executive, in addition to receiving a barrage of inappropriate questions and comments. Author Hazel Cills writes, “It’s clear that Chilnick, who Spurlock employed for over a decade, is another individual that could use the producer’s newfound soul-searching.”
Chilnick responded to Jezebel with the following statement: “The negative statements and actions attributed to me are untrue. I have treated both the women and men I have worked with at Warrior Poets with the utmost respect and dignity. Our goal has been to create a work environment that is creative, inclusive, and always respectful.”
A spokesperson for Warrior Poets added, “Warrior Poets is aware of these allegations and takes them seriously. The company will be looking into the allegations and will deal with them in an appropriate manner.”