Youngjoo Hwang, a former wardrobe department crew member on Fox's 2015 show, The Grinder, filed a lawsuit against Savage in Los Angeles on Wednesday for assault, battery and harassment, among other things. She's also suing 20th Century Fox Television for discrimination and failing to prevent discrimination and harassment, among other things. The lawsuit alleges that Fox was more concerned with protecting Savage than preventing harassment towards Hwang and other female crew members. Savage and Fox have denied the claims.
In a press release on Wednesday, Hwang stated that "Savage was known to intimidate, bully and torment female crew members while they were performing their job duties," further alleging that he would yell profanities or give dirty looks.She alleged that she complained about Savage's behavior to her superiors, whom she said didn't follow up with her in any way. Hwang said that the alleged abuse culminated when she was dusting dandruff off of Savage's jacket during a scene, alleging that Savage "violently struck" her arm three times with his hand.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Hwang said, "I was scared of the abuse and what I would have to encounter each day" while working with Savage. She also alleged that the actor "targeted other women." "It took everything I had in me to be here today and speak out," she continued. "I'm here to encourage other women to come forward and speak their truth."
Hwang's attorney, Anahita Sedaghatfar, claimed that Fox has yet to complete an independent investigation into Savage's alleged behavior, and claimed that he was allowed to continue working on The Grinder without repercussion, while her client was moved to work on another series after her complaint.
Sedaghatfar said her client has requested an apology from Savage, and claimed that he and his attorneys have refused to meet with her and Hwang about the incident. She said that Hwang is seeking emotional distress damages, but that pursuing criminal charges against Savage were "premature." Sedaghatfar alleged that Savage "had it out for all women on set," and encouraged others who may have been a victim of Savage's alleged abuse to come forward.
In a statement to ET, 20th Century Fox Television said, "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.”
Savage, meanwhile, told ET that Hwang's allegations are "completely without merit and absolutely untrue."
“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," he said. "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," he continued. "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," Savage said. "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.”