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The Wonder Years is one of the most well-known and beloved sitcoms in TV history, and now one of the show’s stars says it was derailed due to a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Fred Savage, Jason Hervey and others in the early 1990s.
Actress Alley Mills, who played mom Norma Arnold on the show, recently told Yahoo the show never got back on track after a former costume designer for the ABC classic accused the men of constant verbal and physical harassment.
“When we shot the series finale … nobody knew whether or not The Wonder Years was going to be renewed,” Mills told Yahoo. “And that’s because of a completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage — who is, like, the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the Earth.”
In March 1993, then 31-year-old costume designer Monique Long leveled accusations against then 16-year-old Savage, who played Kevin Arnold, and then 20-year-old Hervey, who played older brother Wayne.
Long sought unspecified damages in the suit, which also named executive producer Bob Brush, co-executive producer Michael Dinner, supervising producer Ken Topolsky, New World Entertainment Inc. and New World Television Directions Inc. as defendants, the Los Angeles Times reported then. Savage’s parents were also listed as defendants, according to the newspaper.
Reps for the show denied the allegations to the Times at that time.
“So I just thought it was a big joke and it was going to blow over,” Mills said. “It’s a little bit like what’s happening now — some innocent people can get caught up in this stuff; it’s very tricky. It was so not true. It was my dresser, and I don’t care if she’s listening — I probably shouldn’t be telling this, but I don’t care because it was so long ago and it’s gotta be over now.”
Mills noted she broke her silence now because previously she, and the rest of the cast and crew, were under a gag order, “which made me so upset. We had a gag order on us, and I wanted to scream on television, ‘This is ridiculous!’”
Long’s lawsuit was dropped after an undisclosed out-of-court settlement was reached, according to Yahoo.
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