A former crewmember on the reboot of The Wonder Years has accused Fred Savage of forcing himself on her at a bar one night in a new Hollywood Reporter piece detailing some of the allegations that may have led to Savage’s ouster from the show earlier this year.
Back in May, Savage was fired from his role as executive producer and director of The Wonder Years following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct. Executives at Disney, which owns ABC — the network on which The Wonder Years aired — declined to share details, though reports at the time highlighted incidents of “verbal outbursts and inappropriate behavior.”
According to the new THR piece, Savage’s exit came after a group of six women who worked on the show sent a complaint to Disney and spoke to an HR executive about their concerns in February. While they all acknowledged that Savage could be kind, charismatic, and supportive, they claim he was also prone to bouts of anger and verbal harassment, especially towards women. The group added that they were concerned about Savage’s relationship with a much younger woman on the crew, as well as the “very blatant favoritism” he showed towards the women who said Savage later assaulted her in a bar bathroom.
A rep for Savage did not return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment, though Savage did share a statement with The Hollywood Reporter: “Since I was 6 years old, I have worked on hundreds of sets with thousands of people, and have always strived to contribute to an inclusive, safe and supportive work environment. It is devastating to learn that there are co-workers who feel I have fallen short of these goals. While there are some incidents being reported that absolutely did not and could not have happened, any one person who feels hurt or offended by my actions is one person too many. I will work to address and change any behavior that has negatively affected anyone, as nothing in this world is more important to me than being a supportive co-worker, friend, husband, father and person.”
A rep for ABC/Disney referred back to the statement Disney shared in May: “Recently, we were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage, and as is policy, an investigation was launched. Upon its completion, the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of The Wonder Years.”
The woman who claims Savage forced himself on her at a bar said she and Savage became friends over the course of many months, and described their relationship as “very platonic.” She claimed Savage would take her to dinner, tried to boost her writing and comedy career, and even met her parents (he also reportedly tried to buy her expensive gifts, though the woman said she declined). Though the woman was abruptly fired from The Wonder Years, she said she doesn’t believe Savage made that call, and said he remained supportive.
One night in early December 2021, the woman alleged Savage invited her to join a group of Wonder Years folks at a bar near the house in Atlanta where Savage stayed during production. After going to the bathroom, the woman claims Savage entered the restroom as she was walking out of the stall and approached her with “just like, dead eyes,” and pushed her against the wall.
“I said, `Please, don’t do this.’ I meant ruining the friendship,” the woman claimed. “I was pleading, not from fear so much, but this was no going back.” She continued: “He put his mouth on mine very forcefully. He went for the top of my pants. I brushed him away. Then he put his mouth on mine again, grabbed my hand and pulled it on his groin area. I was pulling back. He stopped very angrily. I shoulder checked him so I could get out.”
After the alleged incident, the woman claims Savage tried to contact her numerous times to meet, though she never accepted his invitations. She also shared a voicemail Savage left her that she never responded to: “It’s your old friend Fred,” Savage allegedly said in the message. “We worked together for a while and then we didn’t and then I was a huge asshole. A huge asshole. And I’m really sorry. And I’ve kind of owed you an apology for a minute here and so, uh, the truth is I really like you and I really want to be friends and I’m so sorry that I fucked that up.”
The other younger crew member Savage allegedly grew close to on The Wonder Years declined to speak with The Hollywood Reporter. One colleague, however, said Savage could be “extremely controlling of her daily behaviors,” and added, “He was manipulative and erratic.” Another woman said she once tried to protect the younger crew member from Savage, who “proceeded to verbally harass me and belittle me.”
There were also additional claims that the young woman had essentially moved into the house Savage was living in during production. The group of six women who reported Savage to Disney said this relationship was one of the main reasons they lodged their complaint.
“We all felt supported by Fred. We truly thought he supported women,” one of the six women said. “He told us he supported women. But this kind of support isn’t real.”