Yesterday, The Bachelor and Bachelorette producer Becky Steenhoek sued Warner Bros., Mike Fleiss’ production company, and five producers, including her supervisor, claiming she was fired last year after being retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment.
Since the story broke yesterday, I’ve read the full lawsuit, published by The Hollywood Reporter and embedded below, and there are interesting facts and details about both the show and her claims.
While Steenhoek was fired during JoJo Fletcher’s season, on which she was a segment producer, she’d been working on the show for a year and a half.
She worked on The Bachelor season 19 starting in fall 2014, and then worked as “casting P.A. and Cast Handler” for Bachelor season 20, The Bachelorette 11, Bachelor in Paradise season 2, and Jade and Tanner’s wedding.
During that time, she did “did not witness or experience any offensive sexual comments or sexually explicit questions directed at her,” the lawsuit says.
Then, in March 2016, she was invited—by executive producers Elan Gale and Peter Scalettar—to interview for a promotion to segment producer for The Bachelorette 12.
Elan Gale, by the way, is the executive producer who, during Thanksgiving 2013, live tweeted a conflict with a fellow airplane passenger, “Diane,” who he said was behaving terribly. The tweets included photos of notes he sent her, one of which said “ .” Gale later said he lied and made up the entire story.
Becky Steenhoek was hired for the position of segment producer, and the lawsuit has details about that job:
- Her segment producer pay was $1,400 per week for 10 weeks
- She worked “from 15-18 hours per day, 7 days per week”
- Her “main responsibilities were as a talent handler to the lead, that season’s Bachelorette Joelle (“JoJo”) Fletcher
Becky claims that, during her time on The Bachelorette season 12:
- The executive producers engaged on a “daily basis in sexually explicit conversations about their personal sex lives and also directed highly inappropriate questions to Steenhoek.” They “enjoyed teasing Steenhoek about her sexual life because of her sexual inexperience and reluctance to discuss sex,” the lawsuit says.
- The lawsuit works to establish that the graphically sexual questions and conversation was not work-related. It says that “daily and pervasive discussions about sex” was not “related to the production of the show.” For one example, the lawsuit points out that “”The Bachelor’ has yet to have a show, for example, where anal sex was discussed as a topic.”
- Her direct supervisor, executive producer Caitlin Stapleton, asked Becky if she “had ever fondled balls before” and that’s when Becky “complained to Stapelton that the conversations made her feel uncomfortable and were causing her distress.”
- Becky says she was quickly excluded from meetings she previously attended, was “unjustly criticized,” and even excluded from the rose ceremony as retaliation. She was then fired one week later.
The ramifications of her complaint affected future work, too, the lawsuit says:
- She’d previously been offered a job as cast handler on Bachelor in Paradise, but that offer was rescinded. In late June, she received an offer from a different producer to work on The Men Tell All and After the Final Rose, and then after accepting, was told the executive producers said not to hire her.
- Becky Steenhoek says supervising producer Louis Caric and Caitlin Stapleton “told Steenhoek that ‘her morals were getting in the way of her work’ and ‘her morals were a threat to the show.'”