A former producer on The Bachelor is suing the show after she alleges she was asked a series of personal sexual questions, and was subsequently fired when she complained about being uncomfortable.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times on Monday, Becky Steenhoek, 31, says she was exposed to “pervasive and persistent sexual inquiries and language” during the production of JoJo Fletcher’s season of The Bachelorette in 2016. Steenhoek told the Times that producers on the show asked her questions including, “Is your vagina shaved?” “Have you ever sat under a shower faucet or touched yourself to masturbate?” and “Have you ever fondled [testicles] before?”
Steenhoek is suing Warner Bros., which produces the show, the show’s production company and Bachelor franchise producers Elan Gale, Bennett Graebner, Peter Scalettar, Jacqueline “Naz” Perez and Caitlin Stapleton, the Times reports. She is suing for sexual harassment, sex discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination.
“I know what the show is about—that they push boundaries, have sex in the Fantasy Suite and there’s discussion about those things,” Steenhoek told the Times. “However, I didn’t think that as a crew member that I would be asked those really intimate questions. I’m not a contestant on the show. I didn’t sign a contract basically signing my life over to the producers.”
Here’s my full interview with former “Bachelor” producer Becky Steenhoek, who alleges she was sexually harassed during production of the reality show: https://t.co/vXJGp3CN6u pic.twitter.com/N8yuMLq3Bw
— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) October 31, 2017
In the lawsuit, Steenhoek also alleges that she was let go from the franchise because “her morals were getting in the way of her work” and “she was not being enough of a ‘bitch.'”
Steenhoek worked as a production assistant on Chris Soules’s season in 2014, and was hired as a segment producer on Fletcher’s season, serving as an “emotional support system for JoJo,” she told the Times. Steenhoek said executive producers hired her because they thought her and Fletcher would get along well.
Her promotion meant she got to spend more time with higher-up producers, which is when Steenhoek says the sex talk started. According to the Times, one instance occurred when Steenhoek shared a meal at an airport with the crew, and the other producers began discussing what they would be doing if they were home in their own beds.
She says that she felt especially uncomfortable during a dinner where executive producers discussed their sex lives in graphic detail. pic.twitter.com/zM0ikUf9ck
— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) October 31, 2017
Graeber, a producer, allegedly said he would have been masturbating in bed with his wife, “describing in detail how he ‘jacked off’ onto his wife when they watched TV at night,” Steenhoek said in her complaint.
“You could visibly tell it was very uncomfortable to me to witness, just because they did make comments like, ‘Oh, Becky’s blushing,’ or ‘Her ears are probably burning,'” Steenhoek told the Times. “It was a bit of a theme that carried on throughout the season … it was a fun time for them to see me get embarrassed.”
When Steenhoek turned to Stapleton, another female producer, to complain about the harassment, Steenhoek alleges she was cut from meetings and later sent back home by Graebner, who told her she was not needed for the rest of Fletcher’s season.
“He said they needed someone in this role who was a bitchier person and that I wasn’t being enough of a bitch and that my morals were not a good fit with the show,” Steenhoek told the Times.
Responding to the allegations, Warner Bros. said in a statement, “We take all allegations of workplace harassment very seriously. These allegations were brought to our attention and were thoroughly investigated earlier this year. Our findings did not support the plaintiff’s characterization of the events claimed to have taken place, which is why we are disappointed by the filing of this lawsuit.”
The lawsuit is the second scandal the Bachelor franchise has faced this year after production of Bachelor in Paradise was temporarily shut down in June due to allegations of sexual misconduct.
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