Yesterday, shocking news broke prior to the TIFF premiere of Fox film, "The Predator." As it turns out, director Shane Black cast a registered sex offender to be in the film and didn't bother to notify any of the cast or crew before working with them. Steven Wilder Striegel was a friend of Black's and his criminal record is disturbing.
To say the revelation caused some tension during the red carpet premiere on Thursday night is an understatement. Black skipped the red carpet altogether. Actress Olivia Munn attended to pose for photos but refused interviews.
Black, who was inside of the theatre for his film's premiere released an apology following the breaking news. He claimed he was not fully aware of the circumstances that landed Striegel as a registered sex offender.
“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,” he said in his apology. “After learning more about the affidavit, transcripts and additional details surrounding Steve Striegel’s sentence, I am deeply disappointed in myself. I apologize to all of those, past and present, I’ve let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision,” he added.
I’m contractually obligated. And from what I’m experiencing, I think they’d prefer I not show up. It would make everyone breathe easier. Also, I worked really hard on this film, as did the rest of the cast and crew. Now that the scene is deleted I think audiences will love it. https://t.co/6MZxb4NZfT
Striegel pleaded guilty in 2010 to risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer. This came after he was accused of luring a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship via the internet. He served six months in jail for the two felonies.
Munn, who shared Striegel’s only brief scene with him, learned he was a registered sex offender following filming. She notified Fox on August 15th. They responded by removing his scene from the film.
When she was asked why she was continuing to do press for the film, Munn responded on Twitter saying she was contractually obligated.
Other stars of “The Predator” on the TIFF red carpet commented on the controversy. Jake Busey called the situation “a sad thing.” Keegan-Michael Key said the decision for Fox to cut Striegel’s scene was the only appropriate choice, while Trevante Rhodes said it was “absolutely” the right thing to do.
It's safe to say that day one of TIFF certainly wasn't short of drama.