Shane Black has responded to a cut scene featuring a registered sex offender in his upcoming film The Predator. The scene and its subsequent omission were brought to light in reports earlier today.
The controversy began when it was revealed that Steven Wilder Striegel played a minor character in the film, appearing in a scene opposite Olivia Munn as a jogger who tries to flirt with her. When Munn found out about his past, she informed Fox about the actor’s criminal record, which prompted Fox to cut his scene from the movie.
Munn said that she found it surprising that Black would not share that kind of information with the cast and crew of the movie, but was relieved to see the prompt response by Fox and their willingness to remove his scene from the film.
Striegel pleaded guilty to two felonies in 2010 and spent six months in jail for trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship. Striegel and Black have been friends for over 14 years, according to Striegel, and Black had previously cast Striegel in films like The Nice Guys and Iron Man 3 after his release from prison.
In light of the details surrounding Striegel’s conviction, Black initially defended his choice to offer Striegel a part. However, he has since issued a public apology for casting him in the first place. Black wrote:
“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 Predator, directed by Shane Black, stars Sterling K. Brown (Hotel Artemis), Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse), Boyd Holbrook (Logan), Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), Keegan-Michael Key (Keanu), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Thomas Jane (The Expanse), Augusto Aguilera, Jake Busey (From Dusk Ttill Dawn), and Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid's Tale). The film premieres Sept. 14.