Olivia Munn took a stand and spoke out against the casting of a registered sex offender in Shane Black’s new movie, The Predator.
Steven Wilder Striegel was cast to play the part of “a jogger who repeatedly hits on Munn’s character.” In August, the actress learned from Los Angeles Times that Streigel was arrested in 2009 and pled guilty in 2010 to “risk of injury to a child” and “enticing a minor by computer” for which he served six months in prison.
Striegel was charged due to his interactions with a 14-year-old who was a distant relative of his, and who had been facing pressure to have sex and do drugs in school. He “made the the very bad judgement call of telling her in these emails that she was attractive, and sexy, and not a failure, etc.”
The Times reported that the arrest warrant from 2009 contained allegations of “kissing, touching Doe’s breast over her clothing, rubbing her legs and stroking her neck.” Striegel denied any sexual contact with the minor, saying, “Nothing supported such a claim, and no charges in that regard were even filed. The only thing I was ever charged with were words in an email.”
Striegel has known Shane Black for 14 years, and was sure that the director knew the facts of his conviction. He said, “Shane can speak for himself, but I’m quite certain that if he felt I was a danger in any way to have around, he would not have.”
Black also spoke up on the issue, saying, “I personally chose to help a friend. I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly.” He also said that he felt the actor got “caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous.”
A spokesperson for Fox said, “Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel’s background when he was hired. We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.”
Munn also spoke out, saying she found it alarming that Black had not told the rest of the cast and crew about Striegel’s past. She also said she was relieved his scene was cut from the movie before it came out.
She also referenced the issue in an Instagram post, writing, “My mom taught me to never be afraid to stand up and say ‘Wait, that’s not okay.’ Even if you find yourself standing alone, speak up. Even if people get mad at you, speak up. It is not our job to stay silent so that others can stay comfortable. Use your voice to shape the world or others will continue to shape it for us.”
Addressing the trouble this situation caused Black, Streigel said, “If I had even an inkling that my involvement with ‘The Predator’ would be a point of difficulty for Shane Black, or cast any kind of shadow over a movie that I wish only great success for, I would, of course, never have been involved in any capacity.”
The Predator debuts in theatres on September 14.