Actor turned director and producer, Fred Savage, has been fired by ABC for what is believed to be inappropriate behavior on the set of The Wonder Years reboot.
The Associated Press shared a press release from 20th Television that states:
“Fred Savage has been dropped as an executive producer and director of the rebooted The Wonder Years amid allegations of inappropriate conduct, the television show’s production company has confirmed.
“Recently, we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage, and as is policy, an investigation was launched. Upon its completion, the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of The Wonder Years.”
Savage, 45, was a child star when he appeared in the original series, which ran on ABC from 1988-93 and followed a suburban white family in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A new version of the show, which features Don Cheadle as the narrator, premiered last fall. The new series revolves around a Black family living in Montgomery, Alabama, in the late 1960s.”
The nature of the allegations against Savage remain unclear, however this isn’t the first time Savage has been accused of inappropriate behavior. In a 2018 interview with Yahoo, Alley Mills, who played the mom in the original 1988 TV show, says that while shooting in what would have been the series finale in Whittier, California, the cast didn’t know if the show was going to be renewed.
She said it was because of a “completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage.” She went on to say that Savage “is the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the earth… So I just thought it was a big joke and it was going to blow over.”
In 1993, a 31-year-old costume designer for the show, Monique Long, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against two of the show’s stars, 16 year old Savage (who played Kevin Arnold), and 20-year-old Jason Hervey (who played older brother Wayne Arnold). Long alleged that the actors verbally and physically harassed her, and because of that, she claimed, she couldn’t do her job properly and was consequently fired. Representatives for the show and for the actors vehemently denied these allegations at the time.
In 2018, TMZ shared that Savage was accused of physically assaulting a costumer on the former TV show The Grinder. The costumer also alleged that he regularly tormented female crew members, demanding they don’t make eye contact with him.
In the suit, the costumer named Youngjoo Hwang alleged that Savage constantly gave her dirty looks, rolled his eyes and hurled profanities at her while they were working on the show in 2015. Hwang says Savage made no secret of the fact he didn’t like her, saying things like, “It’s so f**king annoying that I have to be nice to you when I f**king hate you!”
Hwang alleged that Savage eventually blew up at her when she dusted dandruff off his tuxedo jacket, in accordance with her job. In the suit, she said he yelled, “Do not touch me with your hands,” and when she explained what she was doing he “violently struck [her] arm three times with his hand.”
Hwang says she reported this, but was told by an executive producer, “I’m not even sure what Fred did constituted harassment and I don’t think you should report it to H.R.”
At the time, 20th Century Fox Television, which produced the series, released a statement to the press which said it takes “all allegations of improper conduct very seriously” and asserted they conducted an investigation into the claims made by Hwang. The company said it “found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Savage.”
“We will vigorously defend against these unfounded claims,” the statement added.
Fox canceled The Grinder in 2016 after one season. The show also starred Rob Lowe as the former star of a legal show who joined his father and brother’s small-town law firm.
That particular lawsuit was eventually settled out of court.
Savage was only 11 or 12 years old when he began filming the wildly popular TV show The Wonder Years in 1988, and was the fresh-faced grandson in 1987’s cult-classic The Princess Bride. Over the years since then, he made an appearance in the ABC hit show Boy Meets World, which starred his brother Ben Savage.
He also had another TV show called Working before his appearance in Austin Powers in Goldmember, which skyrocketed him right back into the public eye which allowed him to star in several more TV shows including an animated series Oswald, Crumbs, Generator Rex, the aforementioned The Grinder, and the Netflix series Friends from College.
Savage has also been working behind the camera as a director. On the new Wonder Years, he directed eight episodes in Season 1, including the pilot, in addition to executive producing the show.