After being alerted by Olivia Munn that one of her fellow actors in Shane Black’s The Predator is a registered sex offender, Fox ordered the scene be removed from the upcoming film.
The actor in question is Steven Wilder Striegel, who has previously appeared in Black’s Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. Striegel had a minor role in The Predator, sharing one scene with Munn. But, according to the Los Angeles Times, when Munn recently learned that Striegel had pled guilty in 2010 to charges that he attempted to lure a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship via the internet, the actress alerted Fox and the studio had the scene removed from the final cut.
“Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel’s background when he was hired,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement. “Several weeks ago, when the studio learned the details, his one scene in the film was removed within 24 hours. We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.”
Munn, the female lead of Black’s Predator revival, told the Times that it was “both surprising and unsettling that Shane Black, our director, did not share this information to the cast, crew, or Fox Studios prior to, during, or after production.” She added, “However, I am relieved that when Fox finally did receive the information, the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder prior to release of the film.”
Meanwhile, despite the scene being cut, Black, the film’s director and co-writer, has stood by the casting of Striegel, who served six months in jail on felony counts of risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer. “I personally chose to help a friend,” Black said in a statement to the Times. “I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly.” He also says that he believes his friend has been “caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous.”
In an email to the Times, Striegel said he did not have to audition for his part in the movie. He added, “I’ve known Shane Black 14 years, well before this incident, and I think it’s worth noting that he was aware of the facts. Shane can speak for himself, but I’m quite certain that if he felt I was a danger in any way to have around, he would not have.”
Representatives for Black and Striegel did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Read the Los Angeles Times’ full story here.
The Predator opens Sept. 14.