Fred Savage, best known to most people as the wide-eyed boy from The Wonder Years and The Princess Bride, has been dismissed by Disney as a director and executive producer of The Wonder Years reboot following an investigation into his alleged misconduct. The first season of the series, co-produced by Lee Daniels and starring Dulé Hill, Saycon Sengbloh, and the voice of Don Cheadle, will conclude on May 18. Whether it will be renewed remains unknown. Deadline was the first to report that there had been multiple complaints against the actor and director of television comedies such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Party Down, and Black-ish.
A spokesperson for 20th Television, a division of Disney, confirmed to the trade outlet that they “were made aware of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Fred Savage, and as is policy, an investigation was launched. Upon its completion, the decision was made to terminate his employment as an executive producer and director of The Wonder Years.”
Specifics about the conduct are unclear, but The Hollywood Reporter wrote that there were three separate allegations against Savage, and he cooperated with the investigation. A representative for Savage did not immediately respond to V.F.’s request for comment.
People have made complaints about Savage’s on-set behavior in the past.
In March 2018, he was sued by Youngjoo Hwang, who worked in the costuming department on The Grinder, a one-season legal comedy on Fox in which Savage co-starred opposite Rob Lowe. Hwang claimed that Savage created a “hostile work environment,” and struck her arm when she was dusting dandruff off his suit. The claim of “assault, battery, discrimination and gender harassment,” for which Hwang sought damages for emotional distress, was investigated by 20th Century Fox Television (which was not part of Disney at that time) and determined by the company to be “meritless.” Savage and Hwang reached an out-of-court agreement the following year. (Savage’s representative had “previously denied Hwang’s claims,” according to Page Six.)
Separately, in January 2018, Wonder Years mom Alley Mills spoke with Yahoo! Entertainment and noted that the popular original series was cancelled back in 1993 due to what she called “a completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage — who is, like, the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the Earth.” (Yahoo! reported at the time that a representative for Savage did not respond to comment.)
A 31-year-old costume designer on that show, Monique Long, sued 16-year-old Savage (and 20-year-old Jason Hervey, who played Savage’s older brother) for physical and verbal harassment. Mills claimed she had a gag order at the time, according to Yahoo!, though she “wanted to scream on television, ‘This is ridiculous!’
The 1993 suit was eventually dropped following an out-of-court settlement. Long told Yahoo! in 2018 that she stood by her claims: “Now all these years later the truth about the dark side of Hollywood and the rampant prevalence of sexual harassment in the industry is out.”