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Disney and CBS sued for ‘disregarding sexual assault claims against Criminal Minds cinematographer’

The producers and studios behind the CBS show Criminal Minds, one of the longest running network dramas, have been sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing amid numerous complaints of on-set sexual assault.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County yesterday, claims that over a period of 14 years, director of photography for the series, Gregory St. Johns, ‘used his position of power to create an unchecked hostile work environment in which he subjected production crew members to frequent sexual harassment, including touching and caressing numerous employees.’

It’s claimed that St. Johns, who was ousted from the show in 2018, habitually groped men on the groin and behind, and kissed and caressed their necks and shoulders. He’s said to have ‘doted on certain men and treated them more favorably, provided they acquiesced to his attention.’

To those who resisted, the suit says, St. Johns allegedly retaliated in common patterns of behaviour, which included the ‘silent treatment, social ostracism and unfair criticism’. In more than a dozen instances, men were fired for complaining about his behaviour, the suit claims.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County yesterday, claims that over a period of 14 years, director of photography for the series, Gregory St. Johns (right), ‘used his position of power to create an unchecked hostile work environment in which he subjected production crew members to frequent sexual harassment, including touching and caressing numerous employees.’

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County yesterday, claims that over a period of 14 years, director of photography for the series, Gregory St. Johns (right), ‘used his position of power to create an unchecked hostile work environment in which he subjected production crew members to frequent sexual harassment, including touching and caressing numerous employees.’

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County yesterday, claims that over a period of 14 years, director of photography for the series, Gregory St. Johns (right), ‘used his position of power to create an unchecked hostile work environment in which he subjected production crew members to frequent sexual harassment, including touching and caressing numerous employees.’

It’s claimed that St. Johns habitually groped men on the groin and behind, and kissed and caressed their necks and shoulders. He’s said to have ‘doted on certain men and treated them more favorably, provided they acquiesced to his attention' (Criminal Minds cast shown above)

It’s claimed that St. Johns habitually groped men on the groin and behind, and kissed and caressed their necks and shoulders. He’s said to have ‘doted on certain men and treated them more favorably, provided they acquiesced to his attention' (Criminal Minds cast shown above)

It’s claimed that St. Johns habitually groped men on the groin and behind, and kissed and caressed their necks and shoulders. He’s said to have ‘doted on certain men and treated them more favorably, provided they acquiesced to his attention’ (Criminal Minds cast shown above)

The executive production team – including showrunner Erica Messer; executive producer Harry Bring; executive producer John Breen Frazier; director Glenn Kershaw; and unit production manager Stacey Beneville – are also accused of being complicit in the abuse, by purportedly condoning his behavior and ignoring subsequent complaints.

The suit also blames the Walt Disney Co., ABC Signature Studios Inc., CBS Studios Inc, who oversaw the show’s 15-year run on screens, for failing to take action.

‘Defendants’ executive team not only had actual and constructive knowledge of St. Johns’ abusive conduct, they condoned it,’ the lawsuit states. ‘No necessary steps to prevent sex-based harassment and discrimination were taken over the years, nor were appropriate corrective actions. Instead, the executives fired anyone who resisted or who tacitly evaded St. Johns’ advances or abuse.’

Investigators at the Department of Fair Employment first launched a sexual assault probe in March 2019, following a complaint made by Anthony Matulic, a former technician who says he resisted one of St. Johns’ attempts to slap his behind, and was later fired for his protests.

Matulic’s complaint was followed by more than a dozen more, including one lodged by Dauv McNeely, an employee of the video playback department, who says he corroborated allegations against St. Johns before being similarly dismissed.

The suit also blames the Walt Disney Co., ABC Signature Studios Inc., CBS Studios Inc, who oversaw the show’s 15-year run on screens, for failing to take action.

The suit also blames the Walt Disney Co., ABC Signature Studios Inc., CBS Studios Inc, who oversaw the show’s 15-year run on screens, for failing to take action.

A picture of the suit outlines the sexual assault claims

A picture of the suit outlines the sexual assault claims

The suit also blames the Walt Disney Co., ABC Signature Studios Inc., CBS Studios Inc, who oversaw the show’s 15-year run on screens, for failing to take action

Investigators at the Department of Fair Employment first launched a sexual assault probe in March 2019, following a complaint made by Anthony Matulic, a former technician who says he resisted one of St. Johns’ attempts to slap his behind, and was later fired for his protests

Investigators at the Department of Fair Employment first launched a sexual assault probe in March 2019, following a complaint made by Anthony Matulic, a former technician who says he resisted one of St. Johns’ attempts to slap his behind, and was later fired for his protests

Investigators at the Department of Fair Employment first launched a sexual assault probe in March 2019, following a complaint made by Anthony Matulic, a former technician who says he resisted one of St. Johns’ attempts to slap his behind, and was later fired for his protests

The executive production team - including showrunner Erica Messer; executive producer Harry Bring; executive producer John Breen Frazier; director Glenn Kershaw; and unit production manager Stacey Beneville – are also accused of being complicit in the abuse, by purportedly condoning his behavior and ignoring subsequent complaints

The executive production team - including showrunner Erica Messer; executive producer Harry Bring; executive producer John Breen Frazier; director Glenn Kershaw; and unit production manager Stacey Beneville – are also accused of being complicit in the abuse, by purportedly condoning his behavior and ignoring subsequent complaints

Harry Bring

Harry Bring

The executive production team – including showrunner Erica Messer (left); executive producer Harry Bring (right); executive producer John Breen Frazier; director Glenn Kershaw; and unit production manager Stacey Beneville – are also accused of being complicit in the abuse, by purportedly condoning his behavior and ignoring subsequent complaints

The lawsuit also claims that St. Johns was only forcibly ousted from the show in October 2018, following a report from Variety that crew members had repeatedly complained about his behavior, but that management had failed to take action.

According to the complaint, St. Johns was given an ‘enhanced severance’ when he was dismissed.

‘All people in California have the right to make a living free from sexual harassment,’ Department of Fair Employment Director Kevin Kish said in a statement Tuesday. ‘Companies and leaders who protect harassers and retaliate against those who complain violate the law.’

The state agency is seeking damages for all production employees who were subjected to alleged harassment. Criminal Minds aired its final episode in February of this year.

Disney, ABC and CBS have not yet responded to a DailyMail.com request for comment.

Source: dailymail US

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