What to Know
- Actress Oliva Munn first told Fox about the actor's sex offender status.
- Striegel plead guilty in 2010 for attempting to entice a 14-year-old female into a sexual relationship via the internet, and served 6 months
- The actor's longtime friend and director of the film ultimately said he was misled by a friend.
Just hours before the premiere of "The Predator" at the Toronto International Film Festival, Twentieth Century Fox said it removed a scene from the film with actor Steven Wilder Striegel after learning he is a registered sex offender.
A spokesperson for Fox on Thursday said Striegel's single scene in the film was promptly cut after the studio learned of Striegel's background. Fox said it didn't know of the actor's history because of legal imitations on running background checks on actors.
"Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel's background when he was hired," said the spokesperson. "Several weeks ago, when the studio learned the details, his one scene in the film was removed within 24 hours."
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Striegel, 47, didn't have a big role in his longtime friend Shane Black's reboot of the sci-fi thriller -- just a three-page scene shared with actress Olivia Munn, the Los Angeles Times reported.
But last month, Munn learned that Striegel is a registered sex offender who pleaded guilty in 2010 after facing allegations that he attempted to lure a 14-year-old female into a sexual relationship via the internet. He served six months in jail. When Munn shared the information with Fox on Aug. 15, studio executives quickly decided to excise him from the movie, according to The Times.
Black, director of the fourth installment in the sci-fi action franchise, has long been a friend of Striegel's and has frequently cast him in his films.
Striegel, who appeared on "Days of Our Lives" and "Melrose Place," first met Black when he was invited to the "Lethal Weapon" screenwriter's home by a mutual friend for pizza and a movie. When Wilder was arrested in 2009, the two had been friends for five years.
Striegel served six months in jail after pleading guilty to two felonies -- risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer, The Times reported. The first role the actor landed after his release was in Black's 2013 film, "Iron Man 3." Three years later, he got another part in one of the filmmaker's projects, the crime caper "The Nice Guys." In 2016, Black told GQ that he was planning to produce a heist film "by my friend Steve Wilder."
Black at first defended his decision to cast Striegel in a small part in "The Predator" as a jogger who repeatedly hits on Munn's character.
"I personally chose to help a friend," Black said in a written statement to The Times. "I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly."
But he said he has long believed that Striegel was "caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous," The Times reported.
Later Thursday, however, Black released the following statement:
"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.
"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."
The Los Angeles Times first reported the reediting of "The Predator" to remove Striegel.