Penthouse Says Steven Seagal Abused Women

His attorney calls tales from the casting couch "fabricated"

By Jeff B. Copeland Jul 25, 1996 12:00 AMTags
Steven Seagal's reputation is Under Seige. Next month's issue of Penthouse portrays the actor as a "slimeball" who rubbed against unwilling female employees and reached for the breasts of actresses on casting interviews.

According to an article by writer John Connolly, four female staffers resigned from the production of Seagal's Out for Justice to protest his harassing behavior, including a "sexual attack" on one of them. The actors alleged that Seagal tried to undress them during casting interviews and made other raunchy advances. ("When I was finally able to get him to stop, he told me I had the part," said one actor.)

One of the women is quoted as saying that Seagal frequently brushed up against women in his office. And a former housekeeper, Leah Bumgarner, alleges that Seagal "sexually attacked" her at his home, according to Connolly. Her credibility is somewhat clouded, however, because she subsequently pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property from his home.

Connolly claims that he interviewed six women willing to accuse Seagal of harassment, although only one would let her name be published. "The code of silence" in Hollywood about Seagal's "thuggish behavior" is "starting to crack," he adds.

Penthouse says Seagal refused to be interviewed for the story. Instead, his attorney, Martin Singer, accused the magazine in a letter of making "false, fabricated and defamatory" statements and using "questionable" sources in preparing the article.