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Fox recently cut a scene from Shane Black’s upcoming The Predator after the studio found out it featured a registered sex offender.
In 2010, Steven Wilder Striegel pleaded guilty to risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer after he faced allegations that he attempted to lure a 14-year-old into a sexual relationship. Striegel served six months in jail.
A Los Angeles Times report says that the studio was made aware of Steigel’s background after star Olivia Munn, who is featured in Striegel’s one scene in the reboot, brought it to Fox’s attention. Munn says that Black did not share any information about Striegel’s background at any point during the production of the sci-fi thriller.
“Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel’s background when he was hired,” said a 20th Century Fox spokesperson in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Several weeks ago, when the studio learned the details, his one scene in the film was removed within 24 hours. We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.”
Striegel, a friend of Black’s, has appeared in the director’s other films Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. He has a small scene in The Predator as a jogger that repeatedly hits on Munn’s character. In a statement to the L.A. Times, Black wrote: “I personally chose to help a friend. I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly.”
But after reading the Times‘ report, which quoted email correspondences between Striegel and the minor, among other details, Black released another statement where he condemned his friend and apologized.
“Having read this morning’s news reports, it has sadly become clear to me that I was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction. I believe strongly in giving people second chances — but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped.”
Black continued: “After learning more about the affidavit, transcripts and additional details surrounding Steve Striegel’s sentence, I am deeply disappointed in myself. I apologize to all of those, past and present, I’ve let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision.”
The Predator also stars Boyd Holbrook, Sterling K. Brown and Jacob Tremblay. The film is set to premiere Thursday night at the Toronto International Film Festival and will hit theaters Sept. 14.
Aug. 6, 12:40 p.m. Updated with Shane Black’s new statement.
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