‘Wonder Years’ Star Claims Series Ended Over Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
The series finale of The Wonder Years may have been more contentious than we thought. According to star Alley Mills, the series hadn’t originally intended to conclude with Season 6, and only did so over a looming sexual harassment case against Fred Savage and Jason Hervey.
Mills spelled out as much in an interview with Yahoo!, noting that a 1993 lawsuit from costume designer Monique Long accused Savage and Hervey of “verbally and physically” harassing her on a daily basis. The actress explained “When we shot the series finale … nobody knew whether or not The Wonder Years was going to be renewed,” adding that an “undisclosed out-of-court settlement” steered ABC away from pursuing a potential seventh season. That said, Mills sides firmly with her former co-stars and invoked the #MeToo movement in doubting Long’s account:
So I just thought [the lawsuit] was a big joke and it was going to blow over. It’s a little bit like what’s happening now — some innocent people can get caught up in this stuff; it’s very tricky. It was so not true. It was my dresser, and I don’t care if she’s listening — I probably shouldn’t be telling this, but I don’t care because it was so long ago and it’s gotta be over now. […]
I just thought this was a joke. You know, they bought her off, which really made me mad. That was incorrigible that the network did that; they should never have paid her off. They wanted to avoid a scandal or something, but it made them look guilty. You know, you don’t pay someone off when there was no crime, you just fire the girl.
Mills claims she’d previously been under a “gag order” about the suit, while representatives for Savage and Hervey denied the allegations after the 1993 suit was filed. Long issued her own statement regarding Mills’ claims:
What I will say at this time is, that back then, claiming sexual harassment was NOT popular nor acceptable in Hollywood. 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. It’s an issue of power and control and continues to be! People can say what they want, but the truth has always been public record in the complaint and all the documents and depositions filed with the courts. If anyone wants the truth of what happened they can read it there. To this day I stand by the truth in those documents. My only response to Ms. Mills’s slander is that it proves exactly why women in the industry are forced to remain silent about sexual harassment.
At the time, ABC cited rising costs and discomfort with the show’s maturing storylines as reasons to end The Wonder Years. The network has not acknowledged Mills’ claims about Long’s sexual harassment lawsuit.
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