AceShowbiz - A former segment producer on ABC's "The Bachelorette" hit Warner Bros. and five producers with a sexual harassment and wrongful termination lawsuit. Becky Steenhoek, who worked on the dating series for two years, complained in the suit about the "pervasive and persistent sexual inquiries and language directed at her."
In a complaint filed on Monday, October 30 in Los Angeles Superior Court, the 31-year-old television producer alleged that she was repeatedly asked questions about her sex life during her time working in season 11 and 12 of "The Bachelorette". The complaint stated her supervisors and co-workers asked her questions such as "how often do you masturbate?" "do you own sex toy dildos?" and "have you ever had anal sex?"
Steenhoek also claimed that producers Elan Gale, Bennett Graebner, Peter Scalettar, Jacqueline "Naz" Perez and Caitlin Stapleton asked her graphic personal questions including, "Is your vagina shaved?" "Have you ever fondled [testicles] before?" and "Have you ever sat under a shower faucet or touched yourself to masturbate?" Steenhoek said in a telephone interview with The Times, "I know what the show is about--that they push boundaries, have sex in the fantasy suite and there's discussion about those things."
"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," she continued.
The TV producer further claimed in the complaint that the show's top brass once discussed their sex lives during a March 26, 2016 meal at the airport when their flight was delayed. According to Steenhoek, Grabner said that he would have been masturbating in bed with his wife "when they watch TV at night," while Gale said he would be having sex with his "girlfriend for two more hours" if he was home instead of airport.
"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 said to the publication. "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."
Steenhoek alleged in the complaint that once she told Stapleton that all of the aforementioned questions and conversations made her uncomfortable, Stapleton apologized to her and told her that "this is the way of the industry and world that we live in."
Shortly after, Steenhoek said that she was suddenly excluded from production meetings. Instead, she was asked to do menial errands for her bosses such as fetching their meals and making sure the food suit their liking. Later on April 17, she was informed that she was no longer needed for the remainder seasons.
Steenhoek, who moved to Texas after being fired, is seeking general and punitive damages from Warner Bros. and NZK Prods.
In response to the lawsuit, a rep for 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."