The new Predator movie that debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday was not the same flick that existed mere weeks ago.
Hours before the fourth installment in the franchise premiered, Twentieth Century Fox revealed The Predator underwent a last-minute edit to remove a scene featuring a registered sex offender, 47-year-old former Days of Our Lives and Melrose Place actor Steven Wilder Striegel.
The single scene portraying Striegel as a jogger who repeatedly hits on Olivia Munn’s biologist character was cut after Munn learned of Striegel’s 2010 felony convictions for risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer, for which he served six months in jail, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Munn alerted the studio on Aug. 15 and Striegel’s scene was removed within 24 hours, Fox said.
In a round of press at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday, Munn described feeling lonely and isolated in the wake of the report. Munn told Vanity Fair that she has not heard from director Shane Black, who apologized in a statement for casting his friend.
Striegel’s case was previously unknown to Fox “due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors,” says a studio statement. But it was known to director Shane Black, Striegel’s longtime friend.
After learning more details, “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,” Black says, per the AP, apologizing to those “I’ve let down by having Steve around them.”
Tweeted Munn, “Those who know about abuse and … continue to put abusers in positions of power are complicit.” Per the Times, Striegel began an online relationship with a 14-year-old he described as a distant relative. An arrest affidavit noted he kissed the girl, touched her breast over clothing, and engaged in explicit discussions of sex.
Some of her cast mates also backed out of interviews with her, according to The Hollywood Reporter. One of her co-stars, Keegan-Michael Key, was never booked to do that interview as he departed the festival early for the Jewish new year holiday. His publicist says Sunday that he reached out to Munn privately last week to express his admiration for her.
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