Warner Bros. has responded with a statement:
"We take all allegations of workplace harassment very seriously. These allegations were brought to our attention and were thoroughly investigated earlier this year. Our findings did not support the plaintiff’s characterization of the events claimed to have taken place, which is why we are disappointed by the filing of this lawsuit."
Original story follows.
A new report in The LA Times reveals that former Bachelorette producer Becky Steenhoek is suing for damages related to sexual harassment and hostile work environment, sex discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful termination. Steenhoek, who alleges the incidents happened during filming for the 2016 season of The Bachelorette with JoJo Fletcher, specifically names Warner Bros., creator Mike Fleiss’ production company NZK Productions, and producers Elan Gale, Peter Scalettar, Jacqueline Naz Perez, Caitlin Stapleton and, and Bennett Graebner in the complaint.
Steenhoek tells the Times that five of the show's producers asked her questions like "Is your vagina shaved?" and "Have you ever fondled [testicles] before?" and "Have you ever sat under a shower faucet or touched yourself to masturbate?" throughout the season.
"It was a fun time for them to see me get embarrassed," she said. She also claims that when she complained about the behavior to Stapleton, the cast producer, on April 9, 2016, she was told that "this is just how it is."
"These are middle-aged white men," Stapleton apparently continued. "This is locker-room talk. This is their way of showing that they're trying to bond with you."
However, following her complaint, Steenhoek says she saw a dramatic shift in her work. She was excluded from meetings and downgraded to tasks well below her position, like fetching food for the other producers. On April 17, she was told by Graebner that she wasn't needed for the rest of the season, allegedly because she was not being enough of a "bitch."
"When I was hired for the job, the reason they told me I was being hired because I did have the morals and they felt I was a good person," she said. "And then here I am being fired because of that reason."
When it comes to these instances, women are put between a rock and a hard place, especially when it concerns your career.
"If you report it, you get retaliated against, you get fired because then you’re not a team player," Steenhoek continued. "If you don’t report it, then it was essentially me not being me. I would have had to sacrifice my values and my morals for something I didn’t think was right, and I’m not gonna do that."
Refinery29 has reached out to ABC and Warner Bros. for comment and will update if we hear back.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call theRAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).