Fred Savage is known for his roles on multiple different television programs, most recently the canceled Fox series, The Grinder. But it’s not Savage’s acting roles that has him in the headlines these days. A former costume department employee that worked on The Grinder is accusing Savage of harassment, discrimination, assault and battery.
YoungJoo Hwang says Savage “created a hostile work environment” and “displayed aggressive and intimidating behavior” while on the set, especially directed at women. Hwang says also alleges physical assault.
Savage immediately responded to the allegations, calling them “completely without merit and absolutely untrue,” according to CNN. Savage added: “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…”
Hwang is also suing 20th Century Fox Film Corporation because, she says, the company did nothing to stop Savage’s behavior. One of the details in the suit claims that Savage “struck her arm three times with his hand” as she tried to dust dandruff off his jacket. Hwang says she reported the incident, but says her supervisors ‘did nothing’.
In response, 20th Century Fox issued a statement saying they investigated the allegations and “found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Savage…” The company also promised to “vigorously defend against these unfounded claims…”
Savage says there’s a good reason nothing came of the allegations at the time, because they “did not happen.” Hwang’s attorneys say they not only have corroborating testimony, but that Savage, “had it out for all women on set.”
Hwang claims she was inspired to speak out and file the suit by the MeToo movement, claiming “it took everything in her” to speak out about the alleged incident.
The allegations, which Savage insists are absolutely without merit, will be settled in court, but, regardless of the facts of the case, it does dredge up some less than flattering headlines for Savage, as well as reminders of a series that just didn’t work.
Savage’s career and brand as a series lead has had some ups and downs. Starring in the lead role on The Wonder Years launched his career, and Savage has worked pretty steadily since, though he has not seen the same level of fame.
The Grinder paired Savage opposite Rob Lowe, who played a lawyer on the series who had played a lawyer on TV. Savage’s brother, who was an actual lawyer, at least on the program, had to deal with Lowe’s characters’ delusions of grandeur …with what producers hoped were comic results. Audiences didn’t agree with the premise or they didn’t get the joke, and the series only lasted one season. Today, Savage is on the cast of Friends from College, a Netflix Original series that has been met with mixed reviews.