Legal action taken against Criminal Minds executive production team for alleged neglect of male sexual harassment complaints

In 2018, numerous complaints over Criminal Minds cinematographer Gregory St Johns alleged sexual and verbal abuse of employees were made public.


CW: Sexual abuse

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing have filed a suit against the Criminal Minds production team for allegedly dismissing claims that a cinematographer sexually and verbally harassed men on set. 

Director of photography, Gregory St Johns, worked on the hit CBS show since 2006, receiving a promotion in 2007. In 2018, after reports of his on-set behaviour, ABC Studios’ human resources department conducted an investigation, however the findings are not known. During that year, he was fired from his position.

As reported by Variety, an anonymous email was sent to nearly 100 crew members on the show explaining that producers had been contacted about St John’s behaviour to employees. It detailed the cinematographer’s alleged verbal and sexual harassment, including “inappropriate touching of genitalia, rear ends, verbal abuse, retaliatory firings of entire electrical department employees, camera department employees and the numerous outstanding directors who made it clear that they would never return to the show because of how they were treated by Greg St. Johns.”

Former digital imaging technician, Tony Matulic, filed a complaint against St Johns before being fired from working on the show. He told Variety that he was let go because “I called him out and I was showing that I was uncomfortable with what he was doing,” 

The suit filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing claims the executive production team, Disney Company, and CBS neglected the alleged victims’ accounts for several years. The legal complaint states, “With the aid of defendants, St. Johns created an unchecked intimidating, hostile, and offensive work environment on the set of Criminal Minds.”

According to the suit, over a dozen men were fired at the request of St John and there were no steps taken towards preventing such harassment. The complaint claims that executive powers “fired anyone who resisted or who tacitly evaded St. Johns’ advances or abuse.”

The legal suit further states, “Defendants chose to act in conscious disregard of its employees’ rights by ignoring the complaints made by the crew members. It was not until the media made St. Johns’ conduct public and potentially threatened their brand that Defendants removed St. Johns from the show. Even when they did so, despite the allegations against him, corporate Defendants paid St. Johns an ‘enhanced severance.'”

In response to the allegations, ABC Studios told The Hollywood Reporter, “The Company works hard to maintain a work environment free from discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. In this instance the Company took corrective action. We cooperated with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing during its investigation, and we regret that we were unable to reach a reasonable resolution with the Department. We now intend to defend the asserted claims vigorously.”

The suit further alleges, “Although Disney and its co-defendants market themselves as leading family-friendly brands in the entertainment industry, the standard operating procedure on the set of Criminal Minds was widely-known to be quite different. Harassment, discrimination and retaliation were widespread and commonplace. And, despite common knowledge of such a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct on Criminal Minds, defendants did nothing to stop it.”

CBS, Disney and St Johns have yet to comment on the allegations.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.