Olivia Munn took swift action when she discovered an actor in her upcoming film The Predator was a registered sex offender. But in an interview with Variety, Munn revealed it took Fox two days to call her back about it.
Last month, Munn informed Fox Studios that 47-year-old Steven Wilder Striegel had plead guilty to attempting to lure a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship in 2010. Striegel served six months in jail.
Munn says his short scene in the film — one where his character hits on Munn’s character — was eventually cut. But she says she did have to call back a second time and tell Fox she’d back out of presenting at the MTV Awards if no change was made.
“I’m not saying they weren’t working on it behind the scenes,” Munn told Variety. “I just didn’t hear anything about it. But I’m happy that they did obviously because I’m proud of the work we did in this movie, we all worked really, really hard, and I wouldn’t be able to morally stand behind this movie with this guy in there.”
“There’s a point when you’re in it, everybody from the top down, they just want you to keep quiet and do anything to help the movie,” she added. “They’re doing some Jedi mind trick like, ‘These aren’t the people you’re looking for,’ and I’m like, ‘That’s not working on me!'”
A spokesperson for Fox told Variety the studio had been unaware of Striegel’s past conviction when casting for the movie.
“Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel’s background when he was hired,” a Fox spokesperson told the outlet. “We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.”
While Munn and the studio were shocked by the news, director Shane Black was reportedly aware due to his longtime friendship with the actor, and he viewed the move as a favor to his friend. According to the Los Angeles Times, Striegel did not have to audition for his small role in the film.
“I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly," he told The Times, adding that be believes Striegel was instead "caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous."
Munn told the outlet that it was "surprising and upsetting" that Black had not informed the cast, crew, or studio about Striegel's past.
"However, I am relieved that when Fox finally did receive the information, the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder prior to release of the film," she added.
Black spoke out again shortly after and clarified his earlier comments, condemning his friend’s actions and publicly apologizing for his error in judgment (although not to Munn herself, she says). Per The Hollywood Reporter, Black said, “I believe strongly in giving people second chances — but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped.”
Munn told the Los Angeles Times, in an interview on September 8 at the Toronto Film Festival that she does not accept his apology.
"It wasn’t given to me personally," Munn told the Times. "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.’”
Munn has previously spoken out about sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, coming forward in November 2017 to accuse director Brett Ratner of masturbating in front of her on the set of After The Sunset in 2004. Ratner's attorney denied the allegations.
The Predator hits theaters September 14.
This story was published on September 6, 2018. Additional reporting was added.