YoungJoo Hwang, a costume designer on the set of the 2015 FOX comedy “The Grinder,” has accused Fred Savage of harassment and being demeaning towards female crew members. Hwang appeared at a news conference March 21 with her her attorney, Anahita Sedaghatfar, to discuss the lawsuit she filed against Savage for harassment and discrimination.
Savage denied the accusations, calling them “completely without merit and absolutely untrue.” 20th Century Fox TV investigated the allegations and, according to the studio, they were “unfounded.”
According to documents obtained by TMZ, Hwang says Savage constantly “gave her dirty looks, rolled his eyes and hurled profanities at her” while making “The Grinder.” Savage allegedly told the woman he hated her and not to look at him. Hwang alleges Savage tormented female crew members on set and demanded they not follow him around.
When Hwang dusted dandruff off Savage’s jacket, she says he blew up at her and yelled at her, “Do not touch me with your hands.” Hwang says she tried to explain to Savage what she was doing, but then he responded by violently striking her arm three times with his hand.
Savage’s statement reacting to the accusation is below (via Deadline):
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.
In 1993, Variety reported that Savage and his “Wonder Years” co-star Jason Hervey faced a sexual harassment lawsuit from that show’s costume designer, Monique Long. The actress who played their mother, Alley Mills, recently called Long’s claims of verbal and physical assault “completely ridiculous,” but said they nonetheless led to the series’ abrupt cancellation. Long’s lawsuit was settled out of court and ultimately dropped.