A judge ruled Thursday that a former contestant on "The Bachelorette" has proven multiple causes of action against a movie producer and studio he sued for sexual harassment.
Chad Johnson sued Sunset Studios Entertainment LLC and Cristina Cimino, an executive for the company, in Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2018. On Thursday, Judge Mel Red Recana granted Johnson's affirmative motion for summary adjudication on his causes of action for sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud by intentional misrepresentation. The ruling means those causes of action are deemed proven because there are no viable defenses.
The judge denied summary adjudication on Johnson's allegation of wrongful failure to hire in violation of public policy. No attorneys for Cimino or the studio participated in the hearing.
Johnson, now 32, competed for Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher's affections on season 12 of "The Bachelorette" in 2016 and later made an appearance on "Bachelor in Paradise."
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In early 2018, Johnson was actively looking for roles in movies and television shows, the suit states. Sunset Studios and Cimino contacted him through Instagram and used her position and her credentials as a producer to get Johnson to communicate with her, according to the suit.
Cimino told Johnson that she could help him get movie roles on movies that Sunset Studios was producing, then used her authority and influence over the plaintiff to lure him to several in-person meetings, the suit states.
She also made numerous phone calls to him and sent thousands of text messages, the suit states.
Cimino's interactions with Johnson became "progressively more sexual and provocative," his suit states. Johnson tried to ignore the alleged advances because he wanted to avoid offending Cimino so that he could get employment with Sunset Studios as an actor, the suit states.
When Cimino's advances towards Johnson became persistent and rigorous, he repeatedly asked Cimino to "keep things professional," the suit states.
Cimino then stepped up her efforts to control Johnson and made written employment offers in two movies, the suit states. Johnson accepted the employment agreements, but when he told Cimino he did not want a sexual or romantic relationship with her, she responded by denying him roles in both films, the suit states.