A former segment producer for “The Bachelor” reality show franchise has filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. and five producers of the ABC program, claiming she was sexually harassed and forced out of work after she complained.
Becky Steenhoek, 31, who worked on a number of “Bachelor” programs from 2014 to 2016, said she was repeatedly asked embarrassing questions about sex, masturbation and her vagina. She was asked, for example, according to the suit, if she ever had anal sex or if she shaved her pubic hair.
Her complaint, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court and first reported by the Los Angeles Times, says that she was targeted because of her “sexual inexperience and conservative views about sex” and that the questions were “intended to embarrass her.” Colleagues and bosses frequently engaged in graphic descriptions of their sexual activities, according to the suit.
“Steenhoek made it clear that she was not interested in answering questions about her private sexual life or hearing about the sexual activities of her supervisors which are unrelated to work or the show’s creative process,” her complaint states.
According to the suit, when Steenhoek complained, she was told, “This is the way of the industry and world that we work in.”
The suit charges that she was treated very differently after she complained and was eventually fired.
Steenhoek worked on “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor in Paradise” and “Jade & Tanner’s Wedding.” The suit says the harassment took place on the JoJo Fletcher season of “The Bachelorette” last year.
Warner Bros. said Monday that it was “disappointed” by Steenhoek’s lawsuit. “These allegations were brought to our attention and were thoroughly investigated earlier this year,” said a statement from the company. “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.”
In a separate incident, “Bachelor in Paradise” temporarily suspended filming earlier this year after a producer raised concerns about possible sexual misconduct involving two participants in the program. Warner Bros. investigated and determined that there had been no problem, and filming resumed in two weeks. The program brings together contestants from earlier seasons of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” to give them another chance at finding a partner.
Steenhoek’s suit comes in the wake of an extraordinary spate of accusations of sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry involving Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, film director James Toback and others.