Shane Black has issued a new apology over casting a sex offender in “The Predator.” In an interview with the Associated Press (video below), Black says he is “deeply sorry” for his decision. News broke earlier this month that the actor Steven Wilder Striegel, who appeared in a small role in Black’s film, is a registered sex offender. Olivia Munn discovered the news and reported it to 20th Century Fox, who made the decision to remove Striegel’s scene from the movie.
“I made an error in judgment that’s irresponsible — I’m not just a kid,” Black told the AP. “I was the captain of that ship — it’s my job to make sure that those things don’t happen. And I failed. And I may have, I did cause pain to people in the cast. That’s unacceptable. I take full responsibility. I am very deeply sorry.”
Black and Striegel are friends, and the director originally told the Los Angeles Times in the first article published about the casting that he “personally chose to help a friend” by giving him a small role in “The Predator.” Black also cast Striegel in “Iron Man 3” and “The Nice Guys” after he served time in jail for luring a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship on the internet. The director made an additional statement saying Striegel “misled” him and that he was not aware of all the facts about the case.
Speaking to the AP, Black said that’s unhappy his decision to cast Striegel has resulted in a major controversy that is dominating the press for the movie in the lead up to its nationwide release. “It really bothers me that this movie, which could have been these beautiful people on a beautiful night with only this, has been overshadowed in some ways by a stupid decision that I made,” Black said.
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20th Century Fox releases “The Predator” nationwide September 14.