Once again, troublesome reports have surfaced surrounding a hit CBS drama, as Criminal Minds‘ director of photography Greg St. Johns is facing an abundance of accusations from current and former crew members who say that St. Johns had a bad habit of groping people’s private parts, that he was overtly rude and confrontative on set, and that many people who put in official complaints were later fired. What’s more, the accusers claim that Criminal Minds‘ producers have dismissed or ignored the issues, even when saying that something would be done about it.
19 different former or current Criminal Minds crew members spoke with Variety about Greg St. Johns, and their claims painted a picture of a highly contentious workspace. While complaints against St. Johns go back to the show’s early years, it was in January that crew members from the show received an anonymous email stating that show producers had been contact the previous month about St. Johns’ alleged workplace behavior, and the email called out “inappropriate touching of genitalia, rear ends, verbal abuse.” It’s reported that employees from the different departments were terminated from their jobs. Not to mention other crew members who verbally expressed they wouldn’t be returning to the show due to St. Johns’ actions.
While it’s not known what came of it, an investigation was held in February by ABC Studios’ HR department, after which Greg St. Johns kept his job on Criminal Minds. Things got heated once again in April, when the show’s former digital imaging technician Tony Matulic filed an official complaint against both ABC Studios and the show’s payroll company Entertainment Partners, alleging that he was fired from the show over complaints made against St. Johns for allegedly grabbing Matulic’s buttocks. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing then started up its own investigation into the matter.
Tony Matulic in particular claims that during his eight seasons on Criminal Minds, Greg St. Johns grabbed his butt once every couple of weeks, and that he also “frequently” grabbled Matulic’s inner thigh and flicked his nipples. Matulic claims St. Johns grabbed his genitalia once, and that he witnessed several other male crew members being touched in similar ways. He also said that the alleged sexual harassment behavior was actually a sign that St. Johns was in a good mood, pointing out that the DP’s bad moods made him verbally abusive and he would humiliate others as a way of bossing them around.
When Tony Matulic brought his discomfort up with Greg St. Johns during Season 12’s production, the director of photography was allegedly not pleased. By the end of the season, Matulic claims he was told he wasn’t being asked back for Season 13 that fall because St. Johns was said to have eliminated the job of digital imaging technician, even though the position is a regular one on many TV shows.
While Tony Matulic’s complaints against Greg St. Johns were the ones that sparked the most recent investigation, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the crew members interviewed alleged that they were touched below the belt by the employer, and that they witnessed others being pawed in the same way. One staffer said that during Season 11, he was standing near the crafts service table when St. Johns came up behind him and pulled his gym shorts down, revealing his backside and genitals to the crew members standing around. The staffer claims he complained about the incident later, and was subsequently fired, allegedly for not getting along with St. Johns.
CBS only recently fired former NCIS: New Orleans showrunner Brad Kern following an additional investigation into his allegedly volatile workplace behavior on that set and others. That, after CBS ousted former CEO Les Moonves was removed for his own set of allegations. Plus, CBS News recently fired longtime 60 Minutes producer Jeff Fager for telling one employee to “be careful” about how she covered the network’s ongoing scandals, saying that others before her had lost their jobs in trying to harm his reputation.