Olivia Munn praises woman for coming forward amid ‘Predator’ scandal: ‘You have inspired so many other survivors’
A 24-year-old woman has identified herself as the former Jane Doe at the center of a case that came to light after actress Olivia Munn told Twentieth Century Fox that a scene in “The Predator,” which hits theaters Friday, featured a registered sex offender.
Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that Twentieth Century Fox had deleted a scene featuring Steven Wilder Striegel, who pleaded guilty in 2010 to risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer, and later served six months in prison. The scene was deleted after Munn, who also appeared in the brief scene, brought information about the actor’s past to the film studio.
The L.A. Times reported Thursday that Paige Carnes came forward as the 14-year-old girl referenced in the case. The Washington Post generally does not identify victims of sexual crimes, but Carnes said, in a statement provided to the L.A. Times, that she is speaking out to “reclaim” her identity.
“I have no shame for what was done to me,” Carnes said. “I am not the one who needs to carry that shame. My name is Paige Carnes, former Jane Doe.”
A Fox spokesman told The Washington Post last week that the studio had not been aware of Striegel’s background when he was hired. But the film’s director, Shane Black, a longtime friend of Striegel’s, was aware of his conviction.
Initially, Black defended his decision to cast Striegel. “I personally chose to help a friend,” he told the L.A. Times in a statement. “I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lately.”
After reporting by the L.A. Times and other outlets, Black backtracked on supporting Striegel. He said in a statement to The Post that he “was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction.”
“After learning more about the affidavit, transcripts and additional details surrounding Steve Striegel’s sentence, I am deeply disappointed in myself,” Black added. “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 controversy surrounding the casting decision has overshadowed promotional efforts for “The Predator.” Variety reported that Black and Munn did not do red carpet interviews at the movie’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival; Munn later said she “was ushered past and told we didn’t have time.”
Munn has said she has felt isolated since sharing the information about Striegel.
“I do feel like I’ve been treated by some people as if I’m the one who went to jail or I’m the one who put this guy onto our set,” Munn told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Saturday. “It was really important to me to get the scene deleted.”
The magazine reported that several of her fellow actors “backed out of scheduled interviews” at the Toronto Film Festival. One co-star, Keegan-Michael Key, told the Hollywood Reporter in a statement that he had left the festival early to spend the Rosh Hashanah holiday with his wife, and that “he reached out to Olivia privately last week to let her know how proud he was of her.”
In an interview that aired Tuesday on “Ellen,” Munn told Ellen DeGeneres that she had been “chastised” by people at the studio for sharing the information about Striegel’s past with her co-stars. She also said she felt “iced out” by her co-stars after the L.A. Times story broke.
“My cast members, nobody said anything to me about it. Nobody talked to me, nobody reached out that whole day,” Munn said.
Several of her co-stars have since released public statements in support of the actress.
Sterling K. Brown, who was not at the Toronto Film Festival, addressed her via Twitter on Sunday. “I’m sorry you’re feeling so isolated, my dear. And I’m sorry you’ve been the only one to speak up publicly,” he wrote, adding “I so appreciate that you ‘didn’t leave well enough alone.’ ”
Boyd Holbrook said in an Instagram post Tuesday that he was “proud of Olivia for the way that she handled a difficult and alarming situation, and I am grateful that Fox took the information seriously and took action swiftly.” He also explained his decision to cancel “a small amount of press” for the film, noting “this type of social commentary is new to me and given the nature of the originating crime, I felt further discussion could cause unwanted trauma and pain.”
Munn was among the people Carnes thanked in her statement.
“She spoke up for me. She took a stance for me,” Carnes said. “In turn she stood for all who have suffered like I have. To be acknowledged by a stranger, on a public platform about this issue is incredibly empowering.”
In a response Munn shared on Twitter Thursday, she told Carnes that her “bravery and strength by stepping out from behind the Jane Doe title and ‘reclaiming your identity’ is incredibly awe-inspiring.”
“Without a doubt, by stepping forward today with such eloquence, you have inspired so many other survivors,” Munn added.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described the case in which Steven Wilder Striegel pleaded guilty as one of alleged sexual assault. He pleaded guilty to risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer, not assault. The story has been updated to remove the references to assault.