In May, Fred Savage was fired from ABC’s The Wonder Years reboot, where he had been serving as a director and executive (he also starred in the original version of the show), with the official line simply being that 20th Television had been “made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct” and that the studio had decided to “terminate his employment” once an investigation had been conducted. At the time, though, anonymous sources referenced “verbal outbursts and inappropriate behavior” from Savage.
Today, The Hollywood Reporter published a story with more specific allegations about Savage’s behavior, courtesy of “several of the women” who had reported him to ABC and 20th Television owner Disney. One common thread in their accounts is that there could be “two very different sides of Savage,” with him being a “seemingly supportive colleague” until “his eyes would go dead” and he’d become “a far darker, angrier alter ego.” They say that he would put on “his absolute perfect, best face” for actors or executives, but “below-the-line employees who don’t have power” would sometimes see a “different side.”
The women also say that there was a “strangeness” to a relationship he had with a “much younger woman working on the crew,” and though she declined to say anything to THR, the sources say that Savage (who is married) was “extremely controlling” of her, and when another member of the crew tried to step in, she says he “proceeded to verbally harass me and belittle me.” She added, “when he pulled me aside multiple times when he was verbally harassing me, his eyes would go dead.”
Other allegations involve Savage displaying “very blatant favoritism” toward one woman on the crew, which others found “unsettling.” She told THR that she became friends with Savage while working on the show and that he “made efforts to help with her career” as a writer and comedian, but after she went through a “bad breakup” and told Savage about it, she was “abruptly fired” with “no prior warning or cause.” Still, she joined Savage and other members of the crew at a bar shortly after that, where she says he followed her into the women’s bathroom with “just like, dead eyes,” pushed her against a wall, and “forcefully” tried to kiss her. She says she pushed him away and left, and while she initially “laughed it off,” she says she was “honestly scared of him for the first time.”
She says he tried to meet up with her again after that and later left an apology on her voicemail in which he said he “was a huge asshole” and that he wanted to remain friends with her, but she ignored it. Savage sent a statement to THR responded to the allegations, and here it is in full:
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.
ABC’s new The Wonder Years was picked up for a second season shortly after Savage was fired earlier this year.