According to SyFy, the final cut of The Predator was days from being confirmed before 20th Century Fox pulled a scene which showed actress Olivia Munn and a real-life sex offender.
The man in question is Steven Wilder Striegel and he is a friend of Shane Black, the director of the film. In 2010, Striegel was charged with allegedly attempting to engage in sexual activity with a 14-year-old over the internet. He pleaded guilty to two different felonies (risk of injury to a minor and enticing a minor by computer) and served six months in jail.
In the film, Olivia Munn’s character is hit on by a jogger played by Striegel. But after the actress learned about his criminal record, she pressured Fox executives to remove his scene from the movie. Munn said she was surprised and unsettled that the director, Shane Black, didn’t inform her or the rest of the cast and crew about Striegel’s criminal background.
In a statement about the decision to remove Striegel’s scene from the film, a spokesperson for Fox told The LA Times, “We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.”
It seems that Olivia Munn is pleased with Fox’s decision.
“I am relieved that when Fox finally did receive the information, the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder prior to release of the film.”
Black defended his decision to hire Striegel for the film saying, “I personally chose to help a friend. I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly.”
Striegel claims the incident in question involved one of his “distant relatives” who talked to him at several family gatherings about some issues she was having. He says that in an attempt to increase her self-esteem he made the “very bad judgment call” of telling her in e-mails she was “attractive, sexy, and not a failure.”
However, a March 2009 arrest warrant alleges that sexual, physical contact occurred. In one e-mail, he told the minor, “I will be VERY honest: There’s no question that it’s you. None. Hope that doesn’t totally freak you out, and just because it’s what I want, and what you want, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing.”
The Predator will open in theaters everyone on September 14. Along with Olivia Munn, the film also stars Sterling K. Brown, Boyd Holbrook, Thomas Jane, and Jake Busey.