Attorneys for a state agency and lawyers for Disney and ABC told a judge Wednesday they are close to a settlement of litigation alleging the companies looked the other way while a crew member for “Criminal Minds” inappropriately touched men on the set for years.
The update on the civil rights suit filed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing was presented during a status conference before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson, who ordered lawyers to contact the court to obtain a date for a motion for approval of a proposed consent decree when their papers are ready for filing.
The lawsuit brought in May 2020 alleges that more than a dozen men were fired for complaining about the alleged behavior of the show’s photography director, Gregory St. Johns.
“On a frequent and regular basis, St. Johns touched numerous men on the testicles, anus, butt cheeks, breasts and kissed or caressed their necks, shoulders and ears, among other actions,” the suit alleges.
St. Johns also is a defendant in the suit, which alleges he “doted” on certain men and treated them more favorably, provided they acquiesced to his attention. He allegedly retaliated against those who resisted by giving them the “silent treatment, social ostracism, unfair criticism, public shaming, and ultimately termination.”
With the aid of studio executives, St. Johns created an “unchecked intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment on the set of `Criminal Minds,”’ the suit alleges.
The studio executives fired more than a dozen men at St. Johns’ request, including an entire electrical crew, after they resisted St. Johns’ alleged harassment, the suit states.
ABC and CBS co-produced the show, which aired on CBS from September 2005 until February 2020. The show was about a group of criminal profilers who worked for the FBI as members of its Behavioral Analysis Unit.