Twentieth Century Fox cut a three-page scene from The Predator that featured a registered sex offender. Steven Wilder Striegel, a longtime friend of Predator director Shane Black, played a jogger who hits on Olivia Munn’s character, and shared dialogue in a scene with her, the Los Angeles Times reports. Munn learned that Striegel pleaded guilty to a sex crimes charge in 2010 and alerted the studio in August. (Striegel allegedly tried to persuade a 14-year-old female into a sexual relationship online.) The studio ordered the scene cut from the movie.
Striegel and Black have been friends for 14 years, they told the Times, long before Striegel served six months in jail for sending provocative and flirtatious emails to a younger “distant relative,” with messages including his sexual preferences and favorite positions. Striegel has appeared in Black’s previous films Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys.
Munn told the Times she’s pleased the studio cut Striegel’s scene, but found it “both surprising and unsettling” that Black wouldn’t tell the cast, crew, or studio about Striegel’s past. In a statement to the Times, Black said, “I personally chose to help a friend. I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly.”
Update: Predator director Shane Black has apologized for casting his friend Steven Wilder Striegel, a registered sex offender, in a scene with Olivia Munn. “Having read this morning’s news reports, it has sadly become clear to me that I was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction. I believe strongly in giving people second chances — but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped,” he said in a statement. “After learning more about the affidavit, transcripts and additional details surrounding Steve Striegel’s sentence, I am deeply disappointed in myself. I apologize to all of those, past and present, I’ve let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision.”