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Sexual harassment and assault

TV crew member Youngjoo Hwang accuses actor Fred Savage of striking, abusing, bullying her

The former child star of ‘The Wonder Years’ is accused of striking wardrobe dresser Hwang three times when she went to brush dandruff off his clothing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 9:26am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 March, 2018, 9:26am

Former “Wonder Years” star Fred Savage is facing claims he struck a female crew member during a profanity-laced meltdown on the Fox comedy “The Grinder” – allegations he denies.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles, wardrobe staffer Youngjoo Hwang alleges Savage, 41, hit her repeatedly when she tried to remove dandruff from his clothing.

“She went over to him to brush dandruff off his jacket, and he immediately yelled at her, ‘Get the f – k away from me,’ and ‘Don’t f – ing touch me,’ something to that effect, and then violently struck her arm three times,” lawyer Anahita Sedaghatfar said.

Sedaghatfar said Savage “harassed, intimidated and bullied” Hwang during her time on the show that shot 22 episodes between 2015 and its cancellation in 2016.

She alleged Savage would yell at Hwang, glare at her, roll his eyes and spew profanities.

“It was progressively getting worse, and she was more and more uncomfortable and scared to go to work,” the lawyer said. “He just has an animus toward females, toward women.”

Savage vehemently denied the allegations in a lengthy statement.

“I have witnessed tremendous courage over these past few months, watching brave women who have come forward publicly fighting through the shame and stigma of harassment. I’ve seen first-hand the growing support in this movement that has always felt so lacking. As someone who has always tried to live honourably and with integrity, it never dawned on me that my name could be on the other side,” he said.

Savage was adamant the allegations from Hwang “are completely without merit and absolutely untrue.”

“Fox conducted an extensive internal investigation into her claims, a process in which I fully participated. After concluding a thorough investigation, Fox determined that there was absolutely no evidence to support these accusations. None of her claims could be substantiated because they did not happen,” he said.

“I have been working in the entertainment industry my whole life and have always endeavoured to treat everyone on any set I work on respectfully and professionally. While none of the accusations being levelled at me are true, I wholeheartedly support all people who feel they are being mistreated come forward and speak to human resources and those in charge,” he said.

“We have witnessed so much bravery from those speaking out recently, but I will just as boldly protect myself and my family from those seeking to tarnish my good name. I cannot let these people in particular denigrate me while harming the message of thousands of women and others who have suffered and continue to suffer,” he said.

Fox also released a statement confirming it had clear Savage following an investigation.

“Fox takes all allegations of improper conduct very seriously,” the network said in a statement. “We conducted a thorough investigation into these allegations and found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr Savage. We will vigorously defend against these unfounded claims.”

Sedaghatfar said Wednesday she has corroborated her client’s claims.

“The statement that there were no witnesses to the allegation is categorically false. I’m not going to divulge my work product, but I have corroborated my client’s claims,” the lawyer said.

She said Hwang, who is in her late 20s and has worked in the industry about seven years, reported her alleged abuse to others on the show.

“Comments were made that she would make a lot of people lose their jobs if she did anything, and that she’d be blackballed in the industry if she spoke up,” Sedaghatfar said. “She feared for her safety, so she had to ask to be removed from show while Fred Savage continued to be employed.”

Best known for playing young Kevin Arnold in the coming-of-age hit The Wonder Years in the late 1980s, Savage starred in The Grinder with fellow actor Rob Lowe.