The weeks leading up to the premiere of Shane Black’s The Predator have been mired in controversy, thanks to a casting decision that’s divided the cast and caused plenty to question the studio’s dedication to protecting its cast and crew. Black cast his personal friend (and registered sex offender) Steven Wilder Striegel in a small role opposite Olivia Munn. When Munn found out the truth about Striegel’s conviction, she protested and got the scene cut from the final film.
Fox dropped the scene, but Munn says the studio also chastised her for speaking out, and her co-stars seemed to take their sweet time backing her up, if at all. Black apologized, saying that Striegel misled him and that he was only trying to help a friend. But now, with the truth out there, Black has made another apologetic statement taking “full responsibility” for the “stupid decision” he made that came about because the director failed to properly vet the actor.
Take a look:
“I made an error in judgment that’s irresponsible — I’m not just a kid who can say ‘we’re making movies in college, put your buddy in the movie’,” Black said. He continued saying that it doesn’t matter that Striegel misrepresented himself and his crimes because it was the director's job “to make sure these things don’t happen.”
Black went on to say, “I did cause pain to people in the cast. That’s unacceptable. I take full responsibility. I am very deeply sorry.”
Striegel’s victim, Paige Carnes, recently spoke out to reclaim her identity and express gratitude for Munn’s support. "To be acknowledged by a stranger, on a public platform about this issue is incredibly empowering," she wrote.
Despite the controversy, The Predator, set to open this weekend, is still predicted to have the franchise’s biggest debut ever.