The state of California filed a lawsuit Tuesday against CBS, Disney, as well as the producers of the long-running series’ Criminal Minds, ‘alleging that the series’ cinematographer engaged in sexual misconduct against male members of the production team for years.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by the California Department of Employment and Fair Housing says the production team knew about the situation and condoned the behavior of cinematographer Gregory St. Johns in the 14 years he worked at ‘ Criminal Minds’ and fired more than a dozen men who resisted their fingering and sexual harassment.
“With the help of the defendants, St. Johns created an uncontrolled, intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment on the set of ‘Criminal Minds,'” the lawsuit states.
The popular mystery series that aired on CBS from 2005 to the beginning of this year, was co-produced by CBS and Disney-owned ABC Signature Studios.
These companies along with the production company Entertainment Partners, several producers, and St. Johns itself appear as defendants in the lawsuit seeking compensation and damages for the production team members who were fired.
Emails were sent to the representatives of the accused for their comments without receiving a response.
The state agency began an investigation in March 2019 and found that St. Johns had followed a pattern of unwanted sexual fingering including touching the genitals and buttocks of men, in addition to kissing and caressing the nape of the neck and shoulders.
“St. Johns’ conduct was rampant, frequent, and open,” the lawsuit states.
The defendant unfairly criticized, socially isolated and publicly embarrassed those who resisted him, the document notes, and executives overseeing the program routinely approved the retaliatory layoffs that he recommended.
The complaints to human resources did not result in significant disciplinary action against St. Johns, and the investigations conducted by the corporate defendants were ineffective and designed to hide inappropriate conduct, according to the lawsuit.
St. Johns was fired in 2018 after an article in Variety detailed allegations by members of the production against him.
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