Though Criminal Minds ended its impressive 15-year run on CBS this February, those behind the show are finding themselves in some hot water in the show’s retirement.
Criminal Minds Drama of Another Kind
On Tuesday, the state of California filed a lawsuit against CBS, Disney, ABC Signature Studios, and other producers of the long-running series alleging that Criminal Minds’ longtime director of photography, Gregory St. Johns, engaged in rampant sexual misconduct against crew members for years.
According to AV Club, the studios have been accused of protecting St. John against various allegations, which led to California’s Department Of Fair Employment And Housing to take steps against what it called “an unchecked” environment of “intimidating, hostile, and offensive” behavior from him.
Additionally, the suit claims that the producers not only knew about the alleged behavior but also condoned it by not protecting those from sex-based harassment and discrimination. It also alleges that they either fired those who resisted or who tacitly evaded St. Johns’ advances or abuse.
“With the aid of defendants, St. Johns created an unchecked intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment on the set of Criminal Minds,” the lawsuit claims.
A Hostile Environment
The suit notes that more than a dozen men were fired at St. Johns’ request and further accuses the employee relations department at the Walt Disney Co., with what it classified as “inadequate investigations designed to exonerate St. Johns.”
It was only after the media started looking into the allegations that any action was taken. Eventually, St. Johns was fired but he still received what the suit called “an enhanced severance.”
The state is looking to collect compensatory and punitive damages for those crew members who were fired and seeks injunctive declaratory, and equitable relief from the many defendants.
ABC Signature Studios released a statement noting it would defend against the claims.
“The company works hard to maintain a work environment free from discrimination, harassment, or retaliation,” it said.
This is hardly Hollywood’s first brush with harassment on the set. In addition to all the issues with Harvey Weinstein, the set of Bull, another show on CBS, also came under fire for working conditions that were deemed hostile.