The state of California is suing the producers of Criminal Minds over a cinematographer’s alleged lengthy history of sexual misconduct on set. Disney and CBS are also named in the suit.
According to the Associated Press, Gregory St. Johns served as a cinematographer and the director of photography for 14 years, and allegedly groped dozens of men on set. He also allegedly threatened and fired men who rebuffed him, according to a suit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
The AP reports:
The state agency began an investigation in March 2019 and found that St. Johns had engaged in a pattern of unwanted sexual touching including the groping of men’s genitals and buttocks and kisses and caresses on their necks and shoulders. “St. Johns’ conduct was rampant, frequent, and in the open,” the suit states.
He unfairly criticized, socially ostracized and publicly shamed those who resisted him, the suit alleges, and executives overseeing the show routinely approved of the retaliatory firings he recommended.
According to the state, the show’s producers knew about St. Johns’ behavior and even bolstered the retaliatory firings. Deadline reports:
“Defendants’ executive team not only had actual and constructive knowledge of St. Johns’ abusive conduct, they condoned it. No necessary steps to prevent sex-based harassment and discrimination were taken over the years, nor were appropriate corrective actions. Instead, the executives fired anyone who resisted or who tacitly evaded St. Johns’ advances or abuse.”
Disney told Deadline the company “works hard to maintain a work environment free from discrimination, harassment, or retaliation,” and that they would defend the allegations against them in the suit “vigorously.”