July 02, 2013 4:58pm PT by Eriq Gardner
'90210' Set Dresser Sues CBS for Sexual Harassment
Jamie Squillare says she got a job on the series, 90210, by agreeing to have sex with a supervisor. But what happened next is what has triggered a new lawsuit against CBS Studios, 90210 Productions, Michael Sunga and others.
Squillare is listed in credits as the show's set dresser. Sunga was the show's leadman, a member of the art department responsible for props and other set dressers. Together, they allegedly had some sort of relationship, but Squillare says she wasn't happy with the arrangement.
According to the complaint, after she was hired, Sunga "reminded her of their quid pro quo arrangement, and threatened to fire her unless she paid him $10,000, which comprised her first month's wages at 90210."
Squillare says she wrote him two checks.
"Almost immediately after Ms. Squillare started working at 90210, Mr. Sunga threatened to terminate her employment unless she agreed to be his girlfriend," says the lawsuit.
"Ms. Squillare initially resisted, but in response to Mr. Sunga's constant threats, eventually obliged," it continues. "Thus, the term of Ms. Squillare's employment was expressly or impliedly conditioned upon her acceptance of her supervisor's unwelcome advances."
The plaintiff then details how Sunga "flaunted" their relationship in public, sent "inappropriate text messages," demanded money from her, asked if he could spend Christmas with her family, and so forth. She also says the defendant "invited her to participate in acts of payroll fraud and corporate theft by paying for her personal items using CBS Studios' funds."
After six months, Squillare says she expressed "disinterest in pursuing a romantic relationship with him," and combined with an alleged unwillingness to engage in "various illegal schemes," he allegedly began retaliating, putting her in the "penalty box" by refusing to allow her to leave work at the same time as other employees. He is also said to have spread the rumor that she gave him an STD and "threatened to blackball her from ever working in California again."
Squillare says she was eventually fired on January 1, 2013. She's now suing for a hostile work environment, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, wrongful termination, failure to pay wages and other causes of action. She's says the production companies were made aware of the harassment but did nothing to stop it.
CBS said in a statement, "We were just made aware of these allegations, therefore it is premature for us to comment at this time.”
Sunga couldn't be contacted.