by Corinne Heller | Wed., Mar. 21, 2018 12:49 PM
Fred Savage denies accusations of harassment and assault made by a woman who worked on the set of his past Fox TV show The Grinder.
On Wednesday, YoungJoo Hwang, a costumer for the series, which aired between 2015 and 2016, filed a lawsuit against the Wonder Years alum for alleged gender harassment, assault, battery and gender discrimination. She claimed that while working on The Grinder set, she was subject to "an extremely hostile work environment" created by Savage, whose "aggressive behavior, intimidation, and constant use of profanities aimed toward female employees was left unchecked," according to Variety.
"I was made aware that a woman working in the costume department of a show I was on almost three years ago has claimed that I treated her harshly on set simply because she was a woman," Savage said in a statement to E! News. "These accusations are completely without merit and absolutely untrue."
"Fox takes all allegations of improper conduct very seriously," a 20th Century Fox spokesperson said in a statement to E! News . "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."
Savage said in his statement that he "fully participated" in Fox's "extensive internal investigation" and that none of Hwang's "claims could be substantiated because they did not happen."
"I have been working in the entertainment industry my whole life and have always endeavored to treat everyone on any set I work on respectfully and professionally," he said.
Also on Wednesday, Hwang held a press conference with her lawyer about her lawsuit. She told reporters that while working on The Grinder, Savage would "routinely curse at me, yell at me, demean me, when all I was trying to do was my job." She said the alleged abuse made it stressful for her to go to work and that she's "not the only woman that Savage targeted."
She said that during one taping of an episode, when she attempted to brush dandruff off his jacket, he "snapped," "yelled at me, told me not to touch him, and he hit my arm violently three times." She said she reported the incident to her superiors, who she said encouraged her to not report his alleged behavior, telling her "a lot of people would lose their jobs and that I would never work in this industry again."
Hwang said she asked to be assigned to another show. She also said the #MeToo movement inspired her to speak out now.
Savage also said in his statement, "While none of the accusations being leveled 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. 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."
Ben Wexler, who worked as an executive producer on The Grinder expressed his support for Savage on Twitter, writing, "I worked on The Grinder and this is literally the first I'm hearing of this. @thefredsavage is one of the best guys in the business - I've known him for 20 years and have never seen him be anything but kind & gracious."