Paul Johansson's publicist denies sexual harassment claims [UPDATE]
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UPDATE: In an interview with TheWrap, Paul Johansson’s publicist, Cheryl McLean, disputed the claims made by BuzzFeed’s Susan Cheng that the actor acted inappropriately during their interview.
“At no point did the interview get out of hand where, as a professional publicist, I felt I needed to take him out of the room,” McClean said. “There was nothing inappropriate going on.”
EARLIER:BuzzFeed staffer Susan Cheng has accused actor Paul Johansson of sexually harassing her and other colleagues while filming a video interview in April.
According to Cheng, Johansson arrived at the company’s Los Angeles office to participate in a story about how to deal with office jerks. (Johansson, who’s best known for playing unlikable characters like Dan Scott on One Tree Hill and Ferg Donnelly on Mad Men, acted out reactions to rude situations that BuzzFeed turned into GIFs.) Before recording for the segment began, however, Johansson allegedly made multiple off-color comments to her and the other BuzzFeed staffers. While filming, Johansson reportedly told the staffers, “I’m sweating like a rapist.”
Later, Cheng wrote, Johansson put his arm around her and asked if she had ever made out with visitors in the meeting rooms.
“I know far worse things have been said and done than what Johansson said and did that day,” Cheng wrote in her story. “But his conduct is common in a Hollywood culture that puts young women in positions where they can be easily manipulated or harassed by older men.”
After contacting Johansson’s reps, Cheng received a letter from Andrew B. Brettler, Johansson’s lawyer.
“Clearly, Ms. Cheng and BuzzFeed are trying to exploit the popularity and excitement surrounding the Mad Men series finale by publishing yet another Story about one of the show’s stars this season,” Brettler wrote. “Ms. Cheng and BuzzFeed must be short on content given that they went as far as to fabricate a Story about Mr. Johansson in an effort to attract readers.”
The full letter can be found at BuzzFeed. A representative for Johansson was not immediately available for comment.
This post has been updated to include statements from Johansson’s rep.