A former segment producer on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette has filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and wrongful termination against Warner Bros. after she complained about the hostile work environment.
Becky Steenhoek has filed a complaint against Warner Bros., the production company behind The Bachelor franchise, and five of the show’s producers, alleging sexual harassment, sex discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, hostile work environment and wrongful termination.
The lawsuit (below), obtained by Deadline, was filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Steenhoek was a segment producer from October 2014 through April 2016, working on seasons of Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and the wedding special Jade & Tanner’s Wedding.
According to her complaint, Steenhoek says she was repeatedly asked “pervasive and persistent sexual inquiries” about her sex life during production.
While working on JoJo Fletcher’s 2016 season of The Bachelorette, Steenhoek, alleges five of the show’s executive and cast producers asked her questions ranging from, “how often do you masturbate?” to “have you ever had anal sex?” and discussed how often each of them had sex.
The complaint states that the questions were aimed at Steenhoek to embarrass her because of her “sexual inexperience and conservative views about sex.”
“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 told the Los Angeles Times, in an interview. She said it was “fun” for the producers to see her embarrassed. “It was a bit of a theme that carried on throughout the season.”
After complaining, her direct supervisor apologized for the behaviour of “three middle-aged men” and said “this is the way of the industry and world that we work in,” according to the lawsuit.
Steenhoek claims she was subjected to “retaliatory conduct” and was terminated in 2016. She is seeking general and punitive damages from Warner Bros. and NZK Prods.
“We take all allegations of workplace harassment very seriously,” Warner Bros. said Monday in a statement. “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.”
The lawsuit comes after The Bachelor franchise was involved in controversy surrounding this summer’s season of Bachelor in Paradise. Warner Bros. launched an internal investigation into a sexual misconduct claim involving two contestants, DeMario Jackson and Corrine Olympios.
The production company later deemed no misconduct took place and production resumed without Olympios and Jackson.