Apparently, “The Wonder Years” was canceled because of a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fred Savage
We hear stories about #MeToo and #TimesUp, the movements bringing awareness to sexual misconduct and assault in Hollywood and beyond, every day. The current social moment encourages women to speak up about their own experiences with sexual harassment and assault, should they feel comfortable doing so. As the conversation around sexual misconduct continues, more stories from the past are unearthed. The latest comes from the set of one of our old favorite TV shows: The Wonder Years. It turns out that the show may have ended due to a sexual harassment lawsuit.
The Wonder Years aired for six seasons and ended in 1993. We had such a crush on Kevin Arnold (and still have a crush on Fred Savage, the actor who played him). It was also impossible not to root for Kevin and Winnie to be together. Cutest couple ever. Speaking of which, the storylines were so relatable, from middle school crushes to sibling rivalry. Even if you watch episodes now, the plot and themes still hold up.
Alley Mills, the actress who played Kevin’s loveable mom Norma, recently spoke to Yahoo about a sexual harassment lawsuit filed back in the early 1990s. According to Mills, The Wonder Years was canceled because of a sexual harassment lawsuit against Savage and Jason Hervey, who played his older brother Wayne.
"When we shot the series finale … nobody knew whether or not The Wonder Years was going to be renewed. And that’s because of a completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage — who is, like, the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the Earth. So I just thought it was a big joke and it was going to blow over."
Mills went on, comparing the lawsuit to what’s happening today with sexual harassment in the news.
"I mean, it was such a joke but 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 [costumer], and I don’t care if she’s listening. I probably shouldn’t be telling this, but I don’t care because it’s so long ago and it’s gotta be over now."
The costumer Mills refers to is costume designer Monique Long.
In 1993, the 31-year-old filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Savage and Hervey, claiming that they harassed her verbally and physically. According to a 1993 article in the L.A. Times, Long worked on the show for certain months in 1991 and 1992. She reported that she was repeatedly harassed by Savage, then 16. She alleged that he’d hold her hand, asked her to have an affair, and made sexual remarks. Long said that Hervey, too, then 20, made “sexual and lewd” comments to other female employees on The Wonder Years.
"Her allegations are incredible, false and totally fabricated," said Howard L. Weitzman, one of Savage's lawyers, back in 1993. "This is a disgruntled employee who was terminated by New World. In Fred's opinion, this is the type of nuisance suit in which she's trying to publicly embarrass him and extract some money from him."
In 1996, Savage was asked about the lawsuit.
“I was completely exonerated, Savage told the SF Gate. “I really don’t want to talk about it. It was a terrible experience.
So what happened to the lawsuit? It was dropped, according to Yahoo. An out-of-court settlement was reached. “I just thought this was a joke,” Mills continued. To make matters even more complicated, Mills said she “wasn’t allowed to talk [about the lawsuit], which made me so upset. We had a gag order on us, and I wanted to scream on television, ‘This is ridiculous!’”
We hope the allegations against Savage and Hervey are not true, as Alley Mills states. But one thing is for sure: If we’re learning anything from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, it’s that it is imperative to believe women, no matter whom they accuse.