The Predator star Olivia Munn rightfully voiced her objection to sharing the screen with Steven Wilder Striegel, who is a registered sex offender and friend of the film’s director, Shane Black. According to The Los Angeles Times, Striegel pleaded guilty in 2010 “to felony charges that he attempted to lure a 14-year-old female relative into a sexual relationship via the internet. Also, Striegel’s scene is opposite Munn, in which he plays a man trying to hit on Munn’s character. But ever since she sounded the alarm on Striegel, Munn has said she has felt alone and isolated from her cast, which includes Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown and Trevante Rhodes.
“(Striegel’s firing) came out on Thursday and the interesting thing is not one of my cast members reached out to me to say ‘Are you OK?’ or ‘thanks’ or anything,” she said during her acceptance speech at the Creative Coalition Spotlight Awards, according to Entertainment Tonight, which also adds that Munn was holding off tears while speaking. “At the premiere that night, I look over and the other five cast members are giving the director a standing ovation, but they didn’t even give me a call that day.” She ended her speech saying she would “keep pushing forward and keep going knowing that at least you did the right thing, even if you’re not getting that support.”
“The only reason I’m talking about this publicly when usually I wouldn’t talk about something so personal is because today, in the middle of an interview, a cast member walked out and refused to do any more interviews with me because they said questioning when they’re with Olivia is too draining for them,” she said, according to the outlet.
Brown, who is not at TIFF for The Predator, took to Twitter to voice his concerns.
“@oliviamunn I’m sorry you’re feeling so isolated, my dear. And I’m sorry you’ve been the only one to speak publicly. I was not at #TIFF, so I didn’t have an opportunity to be there with you.”
The rest of his Twitter thread follows the train of thought about “what is and is not forgivable.”
“That’s gonna vary from individual to individual. You and @BonafideBlack may differ when it comes to that issue. I don’t have all the details regarding his friend’s crime, but I know it involves a minor, and he spent time in jail. With regards to forgiveness, I leave that to the individual,” he wrote.
“What I take issue with, (& I believe Shane addressed this in his apology), is that 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 OK! Our studio was not given the opportunity, and neither was our cast. Especially @oliviamunn who was the only member of the principal cast who had to work with him,” he wrote. “I so appreciate that you ‘didn’t leave well enough alone,’ & again, I’m sorry you feel isolated in taking action. Thank you to @20thcenturyfox for taking quick action in deleting the scene. @oliviamunn I hope you don’t feel quite so alone. You did the right thing.”
Fans have since criticized the “forgiveness” framing of Brown’s response, and as of Monday, Brown hasn’t responded to the criticism.
Alongside Munn, Trevante Rhodes and Augusto Aguilera spoke about the situation in a group interview with The Los Angeles Times.
“I wasn’t disappointed in Shane,” said Rhodes. “I was disappointed in the situation, and I’m happy that Liv spoke up.”
“I thought about the possibility of this continuing to happen, and where it happens–and also to Liv, for speaking up on such a subject, because it takes a lot of courage to be able to say that,” said Aguilera.
Key hasn’t released a statement. But according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Chris Gardner on Twitter, “To those who asked about Predator cast who did not show up to do an interview w/ Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key was not a part of that group. His rep says, ‘Keegan was never booked to do an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. His last interview was scheduled after lunch, which he completed. He was always departing #TIFF18 early so he could be home to spend the Jewish holiday w/ his wife. Furthermore, Keegan reached out to Olivia privately last week to let her know how proud he was of her and echoed that sentiment in many interviews since then.”
20th Century Fox has issued a statement. According to The Los Angeles Times, the studio said, “Our studio was not aware of Mr. Stiegel’s background when he was hired. We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.”
Black has also issued a public apology.
“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,” he said to the Los Angeles Times Thursday before the premiere, adding that he “personally chose to help a friend.”
“I believe strongly in giving people second chances, but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped…After learning more about the affidavit, transcripts and additional details surrounding Steve Striegel’s sentence, I am deeply disappointed in myself. I apologize to all of those, past and present, I’ve let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision.”
However, Munn hasn’t accepted the apology.
“I don’t accept Shane’s apology,” she said to the Los Angeles Times. “It wasn’t given to me personally…I think a real apology has to be done privately, not just read publicly, and I read it with the rest of the world. I didn’t get that call. I didn’t get any calls from any producers or anybody saying, ‘Thank you for letting us know,’ or ‘Thank you for letting us know before the movie.'”