Steenhoek, 31, is suing Warner Bros. and many of her former co-producers for sexual harassment, sex discrimination, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination, The Los Angeles Times reports. She alleges that while filming JoJo Fletcher’s The Bachelorette, she was the butt of inappropriate sexual jokes and frequently asked sex-based questions by her male colleagues that were designed to make her uncomfortable.
Steenhoek told The Los Angeles Times that the questions included, “Is your vagina shaved?”, “have you ever sat under a shower faucet or touched yourself to masturbate?” and “have you ever fondled [testicles] before?”.
“It was a fun time for them to see me get embarrassed,” she says.
After she complained to her manager, cast producer Caitlin Stapleton, she was told “this is the way of the industry and world that we work in… this is their way of showing that they’re trying to bond with you.”
Shortly afterwards, she was abruptly fired.
Warner Bros. have released a statement to Vanity Fair defending the crew of the show. “We take all allegations of workplace harassment very seriously,” they say. “These allegations were brought to our attention and were thoroughly investigated earlier this year. Our findings did not support the plaintiff’s characterisation of the events claimed to have taken place, which is why we are disappointed by the filing of this lawsuit.”
But Steenhoek says the problem is industry-wide. “These executives are untouchable,” she told the Times. “If you report it, you get retaliated against. You get fired because then you’re not a team player. If you don’t report it, then it was essentially me not being me. I would have had to sacrifice my values and my morals for something I didn’t think was right, and I’m not going to do that.”