Shane Black says he is “deeply disappointed” in himself for casting a registered sex offender in The Predator.
Earlier Thursday, the Los Angeles Times broke the story that Twentieth Century Fox cut a scene featuring Steven Wilder Striegel from the upcoming film after star Olivia Munn alerted the studio to Striegel’s past, which includes pleading guilty to felony counts of risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer.
Black originally defended casting Striegel, who has previously appeared in the filmmaker’s Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. “I personally chose to help a friend,” Black said in a statement to the Times. “I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly.” He also said he believed his friend had been “caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous.”
Now Black has reversed course, saying he’s “deeply disappointed in myself” and apologizing to those he brought into contact with the actor.
“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,” Black said in a statement obtained my EW. “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
In an email to the Times, Striegel had said he did not have to audition for his small part in the movie. He added, “I’ve known Shane Black 14 years, well before this incident, and I think it’s worth noting that he was aware of the facts. Shane can speak for himself, but I’m quite certain that if he felt I was a danger in any way to have around, he would not have.”
The Predator opens Sept. 14.