California state has sued CBS, Disney along with producers of the popular series Criminal Minds, accusing cinematographer and director of photography of sexually harassing crew members for many years. California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday, May 26.
The complaint copy states that cinematographer Gregory St Johns had harassed many members of the crew of Criminal Minds throughout the period of 14 years he was on the sets. It also accused him of causing firing of staff for resisting his sexual advances.
Accordingly, St Johns is alleged of unwanted sexual touching. This included groping of men's genitals, buttocks and kisses and caresses on their necks and shoulders. These acts were rampant, frequent, and in the open, the lawsuit states.
ABC Studios to Defend Vigorously
Criminal Minds co-producers CBS, Disney-owned ABC Signature Studios, production company Entertainment Partners, producers of the show and the main accused, St Johns, have been named defendants. The suit demands back pay and other damages for the crew members who were fired because of St Johns.
Reacting to the same, ABC Signature Studios said that it would vigorously defend the case. It released a statement reiterating that the company works hard to maintain a work environment that is free from discrimination and harassment.
Criticising, Publicly Shaming Crew
The state of California decided to file a case following its findings from a probe that started in March 2019. Apart from complaints of sexual harassment, the probe also pointed out the odd behavior of St Johns who it said had habitually criticized and publicly shamed staff members who refused to budge to his whims and fancies.
Initially, St Jonhs' behavior was reported to the human resources team but no action was reportedly initiated against the director of photography. When no action was taken against him, the crew turned toward media. An article depicting the experiences of the crew fired for resisting St Johns' advances was published in Variety. This led to St Johns being fired from the show in 2018.
Criminal Minds, police procedural crime drama first aired on Sept. 22, 2005. The last episode was aired on Feb. 19, 2020. It ran for 15 seasons and 324 episodes.