Though the series came to an end after 15 seasons back in February, Criminal Minds is making headlines again, and this time they’re under investigation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, California’s Department of Fair Employment has filed a lawsuit against the studios responsible for Criminal Minds as well as the executive producers of the series, for “unchecked” sexual harassment.
Gregory St. Johns, director of photography for the popular series, is being accused of “alleged sexual touching,” according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
While a crew member filed a lawsuit against St. Johns back in July 2019, legal action is now being taken against ‘Minds’ distribution studios, including The Walt Disney Company, ABC Signature Studios, and CBS Studios.
“With the aid of defendants, St. Johns created an unchecked intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment on the set of ‘Criminal Minds,’” the complaint reads. “Protected by the executive production team — including showrunner Erica Messer, executive producer Harry Bring, executive producer John Breen Frazier, director Glenn Kershaw, and unit production manager Stacey Beneville — St. Johns continued his unlawful conduct for years. 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.”
The Department of Fair Employment began to investigate St. Johns after Anthony Matulic, former technician, revealed that after resisting a slap on the buttocks, he was terminated from his position.
Dauv McNeely, who worked in the video playback department on the ‘Criminal Minds’ set, also complained about St. Johns prior to his termination.
Upon further investigation, the Department of Fair Employment found a dozen men, fired per St. Johns’ request.
The department is suing Walt Disney’s Employee Relations for “various inadequate investigations designed to exonerate St. Johns.”
“Defendants chose to act in conscious disregard of its employees’ rights by ignoring the complaints made by the crew members,” the complaint continues. “It was not until the media made St. Johns’ conduct public and potentially threatened their brand that Defendants removed St. Johns from the show. Even when they did so, despite the allegations against him, corporate Defendants paid St. Johns an ‘enhanced severance.’”