Olivia Munn says she felt shunned by her castmates in The Predator after she blew the whistle on her convicted sex offender co-star and got his scene cut from the film.
The 38-year-old actress spoke about how she was iced out by her colleagues after she notified studio executives that fellow actor Steven Wilder Striegel was registered sex offender on The Ellen Show Tuesday.
Munn said it wasn’t until after she filmed a scene with Striegel that she learned the 48-year-old, a close friend of the film’s director Shane Black, pleaded guilty in 2010 to attempting to form an online sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female relative.
After successfully lobbying Fox executives to ax Striegel’s scene, Munn notified her cast-mates about the actor’s past as a courtesy.
‘It was going to be something that would get out there, so I wanted to give my co-stars the heads up so they wouldn’t be blindsided like I was,’ she said.
‘I got chastised the next day by people at the studio for telling them, and why am I not just keeping it quiet? It’s gonna be okay, it got deleted, what’s the big deal?’
In addition to being ‘chastised’ by the studio, Munn described feeling like her colleagues had turned on her after she outed Striegel.
‘Nobody talked to me. Nobody reached out that whole day,’ the actress, who plays Casey Bracket in the sequel to the classic 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie out Friday, told Ellen.
‘At first I thought maybe it was just because they don’t know what to say, they wanted to say it out of the way, but privately I did feel iced out.’
The X-Men: Apocalypse star went on to describe why she had decided to share the disheartening experience so publicly.
‘I think that’s what’s really important for people to understand — when you see something, you have to say something, however it’s not going to be easy,’ she said.
‘There will be people who get mad at you for not playing the game.
‘I think people expected me to be quiet, because it’s my movie, but the truth is I don’t care.
‘I don’t care if this movie gave me all the money in the world and all the power. If it costs one person’s life, they can take it. I don’t want this career.’
She added: ‘When we do movies, we have this reach. It goes everywhere. There’s people all over the world that see what we do. That tiny drop of fame can be used to hurt an impressionable person, and that’s just not OK.’
Fox issued a statement after the Striegel scene was deleted, writing: ‘Our studio was not aware of Mr Striegel’s background when he was hired. Several weeks ago, when the studio learned the details, his one scene in the film was removed within 24 hours.
‘We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.’
The Los Angeles Times reported that Munn discovered Striegel’s sex offender status last month.
The 48-year-old was convicted of sending flirtatious messages and emails to the minor, but details of case from an affidavit seen by the LA Times suggest he ‘kissed’ the 14-year-old.
Since Striegel’s release from prison after his six-month sentence, he has appeared in two of Black’s films – Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys.
The Predator director, who has known Striegel for 14 years, said in a statement: ‘It has sadly become clear to me that I was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction.
‘I believe strongly in giving people second chances — but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped. … I apologize to all of those, past and present, I’ve let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision.’
Munn said she was shocked to see her co-stars give Black a standing ovation at the film’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in Canada on Monday night, noting that the director had not apologized to her personally.
According to Munn, her The Predator co-stars including Narcos star Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, Augusto Aguilera, and Sterling K Brown, declined to give public statements to the LA Times over Striegel’s casting.
Munn told Vanity Fair: ‘I kind of feel like I’m the one going to jail. I didn’t go to jail, I didn’t put this guy on our set. I had this scene deleted. Thank God, honestly, that there is social media.
‘It’s the fans and news outlets that’s confirming it to me that what I did was the right thing. If I didn’t have that feedback, I’d kind of go a little crazy thinking, why am I being treated like this? That’s not okay, to feel like the bad guy.’
Her male colleagues also backed out of interviews and some dropped out of press appearances to promote the film after the news of Striegel’s past emerged, The Hollywood Reporter said.
But the film’s lead actor, Boyd Holbrook, has since apologized for ‘coming late’ to the conversation in a statement on Instagram.
He posted last night: ‘I am proud of Olivia for the way that she handled a difficult and alarming situation and I’m grateful that Fox took the information seriously and took action swiftly.
‘It is true that I pulled out of a small amount of press on Saturday, as this type of social commentary is new to me and given the nature of the originating crime, I felt further discussion could cause unwanted trauma and pain.
‘I do not take any of what has gone on lightly. I now realize that my understanding of the situation was was not the full picture and the last thing I want is for Olivia to ever feel abandoned or alone.’
In a series of tweets, Munn’s co-star Sterling K Brown also said he was sorry Munn, who has campaigned for the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement, felt alone in speaking out.
He wrote: ‘I’m sorry you’re feeling so isolated, my dear. And I’m sorry you’ve been the only one to speak up publicly. I was not at #TIFF [Toronto International Film Festival] so I didn’t have an opportunity to be there with you.’