A cinematographer on TV show Criminal Minds was allowed to grope male crew members by employers who condoned his conduct, a US legal action alleges.
Gregory St Johns is accused of touching multiple men and retaliating against those who spurned his advances.
The Disney Company, CBS and Mr St Johns are among the defendants being sued by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
Mr St Johns was fired in 2018 after crew members’ complaints became public.
According to court documents published by the Deadline website, Mr St Johns engaged in a pattern of “sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation” for 14 years.
He is accused of touching, kissing and caressing “numerous men”. It is alleged that his employers had “actual and constructive knowledge” of Mr St Johns’ “abusive” conduct yet allowed it to continue “unchecked”.
“No necessary steps to prevent sex-based harassment and discrimination were taken over the years, nor were appropriate corrective actions,” the legal action continues.
“Instead, the executives fired anyone who resisted or who tacitly evaded St Johns’ advances or abuse.” The legal case says more than a dozen men were fired at Mr St Johns’ request.
The DFEH is seeking damages for any victims in a legal action that names several individual producers as defendants.
CBS, Disney and Mr St Johns have yet to comment, while the Disney-owned ABC Signature Studios said it would “defend the asserted claims vigorously”.
Criminal Minds, a police procedural about the workings of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, was a CBS-ABC co-production that first aired in 2005.
Mandy Patinkin, Joe Mantegna and Jennifer Love Hewitt were among the many actors to appear in the show prior to its cancellation earlier this year.