11:11am PT by Ashley Cullins
Fred Savage Denies Assault Claims
Fred Savage has denied assault claims from a former costumer who said he swore at her and created a hostile work environment on the set of The Grinder.
Youngjoo Hwang claims Savage was verbally abusive and had a reputation for tormenting female crew members, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Hwang and her attorney Anahita Sedaghatfar held a press conference to discuss the allegations, which include that Savage yelled at her not to touch him while she was dusting dandruff off of his suit on set and "violently" struck her arm.
Sedaghatfar confirmed during the presser that she filed a complaint against Savage and Fox for assault, battery, discrimination and gender harassment, among other claims, and Hwang is seeking damages for emotional distress. (The complaint is posted below.)
Both Savage and 20th Century Fox Television say the claims were investigated and found to be meritless.
"None of her claims could be substantiated because they did not happen," Savage said Wednesday in a 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."
Fox on Wednesday also issued a statement: “Fox takes all allegations of improper conduct very seriously. 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.”
Sedaghatfar claims Fox did not conduct an independent investigation and encouraged any others who experienced issues with the actor to contact her.
Savage's full statement is posted below.
I have witnessed tremendous courage over these past few months, watching brave women who have come forward publicly fighting through the shame and stigma of harassment. I’ve seen first-hand the growing support in this movement that has always felt so lacking. As someone who has always tried to live honorably and with integrity, it never dawned on me that my name could be on the other side.
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. These accusations are completely without merit and absolutely untrue. Fox conducted an extensive internal investigation into her claims, a process in which I fully participated. After concluding a thorough investigation, Fox determined that there was absolutely no evidence to support these accusations. None of her 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. 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.”
March 21, 11:30 a.m. Updated to include details from Hwang's press conference and a copy of the complaint.