Shane Black had to recently go back to the final cut of The Predator and cut a scene which involved his friend, Steven Wilder Striegel. 47-year old Striegel served six months in jail after pleading guilty to two felonies in 2010, including risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer. Actress Olivia Munn recently learned of Striegel's past and alerted 20th Century Fox, who claim that they were not aware of the charges. However, Shane Black was aware of Striegel's past, and insists that he was trying to help a friend.
Last month, The Predator actress Olivia Munn was told that Steven Wilder Striegel had tried to start a sexual relationship with a 14-year old girl online. The actress told the studio about her findings and they swiftly made the decision to have his scene cut from the film. 20th Century Fox says that they were not aware of Striegel's record due to "legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors."
Steven Wilder Striegel maintains that he was convicted over emails and that nothing physical ever happened. However, a warrant that was issued at the time alleges that Striegel kissed the 14-year old "distant relative," caressed her neck, touched her breast over her shirt, and rubbed her legs. Striegel firmly denies that he ever had inappropriate physical contact with the girl. Emails from the case seem to indicate otherwise, but Striegel was never charged for physical contact with the minor. As for getting a job, California does not have a law the prohibits hiring sex offenders. The Screen Actors Guild notes that producers are the ones who are responsible "for maintaining a safe working environment under our collective bargaining agreements and the law."
Shane Black and Steven Wilder Striegel have been friends for over 14 years and the director has cast him in roles in the past. Striegel has appeared in 2013's Iron Man 3 and again in 2016's The Nice Guys. In an interview, Black said that he was developing one of Striegel's screenplays back in 2016 as well. When asked why he has chosen to work with Striegel after he registered as a sex offender, Black had this to say.
"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."
The rest of the cast of The Predator has yet to comment on the matter, but Olivia Munn says that she was surprised and "unsettled" to know that Shane Black didn't take time to explain Steven Wilder Striegel's past with the studio, cast, and crew. Striegel filmed with Munn as a jogger who repeatedly hit on her character. In the end, Munn is happy that 20th Century Fox made the decision to cut Striegel out of The Predator. The movie opens up next weekend. The Los Angeles Times was the first to report this story.