'The Grinder' Costumer Fighting to Keep Gender-Based Claims in Fred Savage Lawsuit

Fred Savage attends the Television Academy's cocktail reception-no smile-H 2018
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

The costumer who is suing Fred Savage over their interactions on the set of the former Fox series The Grinder is fighting to convince the court his alleged behavior toward her is because of her gender, after a Los Angeles judge tossed the claims in August.

Youngjoo Hwang first sued in March, claiming, among other things, that the actor struck her arm and yelled at her not to touch him while she was dusting off his suit on set. She revised her complaint after judge Holly Fujie dismissed several gender-based claims, finding Hwang failed to sufficiently prove any of the alleged behavior was motivated anything other than Savage's desire not to be touched and personal dislike of her.

In her second amended complaint, Hwang claims the actor "has a well known reputation in the entertainment industry as being a 'woman hater'" and isn't known for "being a man hater in any way." The costumer also alleges that others on the sets of the former CBS series Friends With Better Lives and a pilot called Jacked Up have complained about his treatment of women. These instances, Hwang claims, are evidence that his behavior toward her was motivated by "gender animus" and not merely a personal dislike.

Attorneys for Fox and Savage filed a demurrer to the complaint on Oct. 31, arguing that Hwang still hasn't adequately alleged a violent act that was motivated by her gender. 

In opposition, Hwang's attorney Anahita Sedaghatfar contends even a "cursory" reading of the amended complaint shows their case is based on his "animus against females."

In a reply filed last Wednesday, Savage and 20th Century Fox, which is also named as a defendant, argue Hwang is attempting to relitigate arguments the court has already rejected. 

Attorneys Molly Lens and Larry Stein argue the gender-based claims arise from the allegation that Savage struck Hwang's arm when she started to brush his shoulder, and that the only new claim offered in support is that "[i]t is notable that Defendant Savage never assaulted or battered any males on The Grinder."

"Of course, it is equally true that Plaintiff does not allege that Mr. Savage ever assaulted or battered anyone else — male or female — on any set, much less any other location," states the reply. "Plaintiff's allegation that Savage never hit anyone else cannot possibly transform plaintiff's previously insufficient allegations into sufficient allegations."

The defendants also argue that Hwang's other claims are either barred by the statute of limitations or are reliant on the gender-based claims and should be dismissed.

A hearing is currently set for Wednesday.