'Bachelor' producers sued for alleged sexual harassment, discrimination

A former employee claims she was terminated for complaining about conditions.

ByABC NEWS
October 30, 2017, 9:42 PM

— -- A former employee of "The Bachelor" franchise has sued Warner Bros., creator Mike Fleiss’ company NZK Productions, and several of the show's individual producers and executive producers, alleging sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination, among other complaints.

Becky Steenhoek, who worked on "The Bachelor" and its related shows from 2014 until 2016, claimed in paperwork filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday that she was fired for complaining about the "hostile work environment" that was created "by pervasive and persistent sexual inquiries and language directed at her by the show's executive producers and cast producers."

Sexual questions directed at her were "intended to embarrass her because of her sexual inexperience and conservative views about sex," she added in the document, which was obtained by Los Angeles ABC station KABC.

"We are publicizing Ms. Steenhoek's lawsuit in the hopes of encouraging other employees who worked on 'The Bachelor' to come forward and share their stories of sexual harassment," her attorney Michael S. Morrison told KABC. "One of the reasons why Hollywood's sexual harassment problem has persisted for so long is the fear many employees have of speaking out and being retaliated against. We are hopeful that the current climate will lead other employees to bravely step forward like Ms. Steenhoek has in order fight against this type of behavior."

However, Warner Bros., which acknowledged that it had received Steenhoek's complaint, denied Steenhoek's claims in a statement of its own.

"We take all allegations of workplace harassment very seriously. These allegations were brought to our attention and were thoroughly investigated earlier this year," their statement read. "Our findings did not support the plaintiff’s characterization of the events claimed to have taken place, which is why we are disappointed by the filing of this lawsuit.”

Steenhoek is seeking unspecified economic and punitive damages.

"I think it’s an industry-wide problem -- these executives are untouchable," she said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "If you report it, you get retaliated against, you get fired because then you’re not a team player. If you don’t report it, then it was essentially me not being me. I would have had to sacrifice my values and my morals for something I didn’t think was right, and I’m not gonna do that.”

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