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The former Bachelor producer who filed a lawsuit over her experience working on the hit ABC reality series appeared on Friday’s Megyn Kelly Today to speak out about her sexual harassment allegations against the show.
Becky Steenhoek claims she was harassed while working on the dating competition series and terminated for complaining about the hostile environment. The Hollywood Reporter detailed her complaint, which was filed Monday, against production company Warner Bros. and five of the show’s producers.
Warners said they investigated the claims when first brought to their attention earlier this year and were “disappointed” by the filing of the lawsuit, adding in a statement, “Our findings did not support the plaintiff’s characterization of the events claimed to have taken place.” Warners and Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss’ production company, NZK Productions, have filed an arbitration claim with mediation service JAMS in response to the lawsuit.
During her Friday TV appearance, Steenhoek, 31, who was joined by her attorney via video, told the NBC News host that she was constantly being asked “a lot of personal questions that had no relevancy to the show, or really my job description” on set. “I was being asked such things as if I had ever had anal or oral sex. How I shaved myself. How I preferred to give and receive hand jobs. How I masturbated, things like that,” she told Megyn Kelly of the executive producers and her supervisor, a cast producer. In the complaint, Steenhoek detailed the series of sexual questions that she says were put to her while working on JoJo Fletcher’s 2016 season of The Bachelorette.
She said the topics were discussed in a small group setting, where often only she, Fletcher, her cast producer and a handful of other executive producers were present. “An intimate inner circle,” she said, where “daily” sexual-related conversations were happening. “It was just something that made me feel very uncomfortable and very kind of violated.”
Before she was promoted to producer on Fletcher’s season, Steenhoek also worked as a production assistant and a handler for the franchise starting in October 2014. When Kelly pushed back on Steenhoek knowing the salacious nature of the show, the former producer — who was described as having “conservative views about sex” in her complaint — admitted that she knew that would be the case on camera and knew what the show was about. “I just didn’t expect those kind of intimate and explicit conversations to happen,” she said.
Kelly compared Steenhoek’s filing to Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, since both women signed arbitration agreements, something Kelly said is a common condition of employment. “Most employees don’t think they’re going to get into a dispute with their employer and they have no choice in the matter of whether or not to sign it,” said Steenhoek’s attorney Michael Morrison.
Kelly has been opening her morning show by recounting the growing list of Hollywood names who have been accused of sexual harassment or assault in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, opening the floodgates for accusers to come forward. Showing clips of Fletcher’s season of The Bachelorette and Nick Viall’s recent season of The Bachelor, Kelly introduced the segment by saying how the series, a pop culture phenomenon since launching 15 years ago, can steer into what could be described as “suggestive territories” and became the inspiration for Lifetime’s scripted Emmy-nominated series UnREAL.
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