Summary: Actress Alley Mills said “The Wonder Years” was canceled because a costume designer accused star Fred Savage of sexual harassment.
Fred Savage is well-known for his role as sweet-faced Kevin Arnold on “The Wonder Years,” but one staffer on the show accused him of being a bully. According to the woman who played Savage’s mom, that accusation resulted in the cancellation of the heartwarming television series.
Alley Mills, who played Kevin’s mom, spoke to Yahoo last week to discuss the show’s anniversary. In a shocking admission, she revealed that the show was canceled because a costume designer had accused Savage and his TV brother of bullying and sexually harassing her.
“When we shot the series finale … nobody knew whether or not The Wonder Years was going to be renewed,” Mills told Yahoo. “And that’s because of a completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage — who is, like, the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the Earth.”
The costume designer had sued Savage and actor Jason Hervey in 1993, according to the Los Angeles Times. She had filed her lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The designer, Monique Long, then 31, said Hervey and Savage, then 16, repeatedly verbally harassed her and physically touched her inappropriately. She said that she had complained to the actors and the producers, but no changes were made.
In addition to suing Savage and Hervey, Long sued executive producer Bob Brush, co-executive producer Michael Dinner, supervising producer Ken Topolsky, New World Entertainment Inc., and New World Television Directions Inc. Long also named Savage’s parents as defendants.
Long’s attorney, Beverly Grant, said that Long was let go because she had complained about the harassment. In her lawsuit, Long said Savage made sexual jokes to her and tried to hold her hand. Long added that Savage and Hervey also made gross jokes to female staffers.
“Our intention is to rectify a wrong,” Grant said. “It’s very difficult for anyone to make allegations of sexual harassment. We did not do this haphazardly or to be vindictive.”
The defendants said that the lawsuit was baseless, and Savage and Hervey had denied harassing Long. Savage’s lawyer at the time, Howard L. Weitzman, called Long “disgruntled.”
“Her allegations are incredible, false and totally fabricated. This is a disgruntled employee who was terminated by New World. In Fred’s opinion, this is the type of nuisance suit in which she’s trying to publicly embarrass him and extract some money from him,” Weitzman said in 1993.
Mills told Yahoo that the lawsuit was dropped after an out-of-court settlement was made. Angry about the deal, Mills said that the woman was a liar and should not have been bought off.
“I just thought this was a joke. You know, they bought her off, which really made me mad,” Mills said. “That was incorrigible that the network did that; they should never have paid her off. They wanted to avoid a scandal or something, but it made them look guilty. You know, you don’t pay someone off when there was no crime, you just fire the girl.”
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