Entertainment

A closer look at Fred Savage: New firing details emerge

Who is Fred Savage?

That question might roll some Gen Xers eyes because, duh: he’s Kevin Arnold, the star of The Wonder Years who had a crush on Winnie Cooper, the girl who lived across the street and grew up before was our eyes.

But generations who weren’t tied to the TV back then may know Savage better from the misconduct allegations leveled against the actor-director earlier this year. They were significant enough to cost him his executive producer-director jobs on the current ABC reboot of this coming-of-age TV comedy.

On Tuesday, the women who accused Savage, 46, of misconduct earlier this year opened up to the Hollywood Reporter with details of their allegations. “I and the other women feel like people need to know what the wrongdoing was,” one woman told the journal.

With that article in mind, here’s some background on the man who played Kevin Arnold – and who has been dealing with allegations of inappropriate behavior on set since he was 16.

Who is Fred Savage?

The Chicago native had been an actor for years when, at age 12, he landed the lead role on the seminal 1980s family sitcom, The Wonder Years. In the show, Savages Kevin Arnold and his friends Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) and Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) grew up in middle-class suburban communities in the late 1960s and early ’70s. When Savage was 13, he became the youngest person ever to be nominated for an Emmy for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He was also nominated the next year.

“The Wonder Years” was, as former LA Times television critic Howard Rosenberg wrote in 1989, “the only Series about children that appears to be designed and written by people who actually was Children.”

Notable roles for Savage have since included the sitcoms Working and The Grinder, in which Savage played a lawyer in 2015 and 2016 respectively with an annoying older actor brother (Rob Lowe) who thought he was also qualified to work as a lawyer , because he had played one on TV.

Savage has also voiced a number of animated roles and, more importantly, directed dozens of episodes for TV shows, including Wizards of Waverly Place, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 2 Broke Girls, Modern Family” and “The Conners.”

His producer and executive producer credits include Phil of the Future, It’s Always Sunny, Garfunkel and Oates, and of course the Lee Daniels reboot of Wonder Years, co-written by fellow EP Saladin K. Patterson was developed.

What is his private life like?

A woman and man in formal wear arrive at a film industry event.

Jennifer Lynn Stone and Fred Savage arrive at the 2012 annual DGA Awards.

(Dan Steinberg/Associated Press)

Savage married Jennifer Lynn Stone, a childhood friend, in 2004. Together, the Savages have three children, Lily, Oliver and Auggie.

What has he been up to since he was fired in May?

A source told People in mid-May, a week after the shooting, that Savage was “on hiatus” after complaints he had abused crew members.

“Instead of saying, ‘Fuck you for saying that to me,’ he says, ‘Okay, if people are feeling this way, I have to figure out what I could do better,'” the source told the Savages ” mistake” after working in the industry for so long is that “sometimes he gets mad and annoyed on set.”

Why was he previously sued for his alleged workplace conduct?

Savage was first sued by a client who worked with him during the final season of the original Wonder Years. The actor was 16 at the time, and Monique Long accused both him and Jason Hervey, who was 18 and played big brother Wayne Arnold on the show, of verbally and sexually harassing them on a daily basis.

Long’s attorney said at the time Long was fired after she complained about how she was allegedly treated. Savage’s attorney called Long a “disgruntled employee” and said the action was a “harassment lawsuit” designed to publicly embarrass Savage. The lawsuit, filed in March 1993, was settled out of court in April 1994. Savage denied any wrongdoing.

In March 2018, Youngjoo Hwang, who worked in The Grinder’s wardrobe department, sued the film and television divisions of Savage and 20th Century Fox. The lawsuit, reviewed by The Times, alleges assault and assault by the actor and said he exhibited “aggressive behavior, intimidation and constant use of profanity towards female employees” on the Fox show.

The lawsuit detailed a climactic incident in which Savage, after allegedly being advised to change his behavior towards Hwang, “Ms. Hwang violently smacked her arm three times” after the show’s director asked her to brush the shoulders of Savage’s suit of dandruff.

“These allegations are completely baseless and absolutely false,” Savage said in a statement to Us Weekly at the time. “After completing a thorough investigation, Fox determined that there was absolutely no evidence to support these allegations. None of their claims could be substantiated because they didn’t happen.”

The proceedings were discontinued in mid-2019.

What happened in the Wonder Years reboot?

Savage executive produced and directed the rebooted comedy, which premiered in September 2021 and now centers on a black family with children growing up in Montgomery, Alabama in the late 1960s. The former child star directed eight episodes, including the pilot. The show’s first season ended on May 18 — about two weeks after Savage’s surprise firing was reported.

“Recently we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate behavior by Fred Savage and, as policy dictates, an investigation has been launched,” a spokesman for 20th Television said in a statement to The Times. “Upon completion, the decision was made to end his tenure as executive producer and director of ‘The Wonder Years.'”

Savage reportedly fully cooperated with the investigation, which included three allegations of improper conduct.

What details came to light this week?

The women, who spoke to THR, said they sent a complaint about Savage to Disney – the owner of ABC – in February and received a quick response, including banning the director from the set of “The Wonder Years,” as one investigation began. The six women interviewed said they were moved to contact THR after reading a positive Page Six article about Savage doing “a lot of self-reflection” after his release.

The women said they saw two sides of Savage – a charismatic colleague with a darker alter ego. One questioned the “strangeness” of Savage’s relationship with a much younger woman who worked on the crew, which she said included gifts and a stay at his Atlanta home where Wonder Years was filmed. One woman said “he verbally abused and belittled me” as she tried to shield the younger woman from him.

Another crew member, a woman in her 30s who others observed being “obviously favored” by Savage, also spoke to THR. She said that in 2021, when she was no longer working on the show, she met Savage at a bar where the crew often congregated. He bought shots for the crew.

She claimed he followed her into the women’s room and “put his mouth on mine very forcefully. He’s after my pants. I wiped him away. Then he put his mouth back on mine and grabbed my hand and pulled it to his groin. I withdrew. He stopped very angry. I checked his shoulder so I could get out.”

Savage continued to write and call for a few weeks, the woman told THR and eventually left a voice message, which she played for the trade newspaper.

“It’s your old friend Fred,” the message said. “We worked together for a while and then we didn’t, and then I was a huge a-hole. A giant A hole. And I’m really sorry. And I kind of owe you an apology here, and so, uh, the truth is, I really like you and I really want to be a friend, and I’m so sorry I screwed that up.”

A man holds both arms in the air.

Fred Savage was photographed at the LA Times Portrait and Video Studio at Comic-Con 2019.

(Jay L Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

What does the actor say about this?

The Times could not reach Savage for comment on Wednesday. However, he told the New York Post and other outlets in a statement Tuesday that he has worked with thousands of people on sets for most of his life and throughout production “always strived to contribute to an inclusive, safe and supportive work environment.” . .

“It’s devastating,” Savage continued, “to learn that there are colleagues who think I’ve missed those goals. While some incidents are being reported that absolutely did not and could not have happened, any person who is hurt or offended by my actions is one person too many.”

The actor said he would “work to address and change any behavior that has negatively impacted someone as nothing in this world is more important to me than being a supportive colleague, friend, husband, father and human being.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-08-10/fred-savage-allegations-misconduct A closer look at Fred Savage: New firing details emerge

Sarah Ridley

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