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UPDATED 4:45 p.m. ET: Shane Black released a follow-up statement and apology for hiring a registered sex offender to play small roles in several of his directed efforts. In the statement, Black said he didn't know the full details of Striegel's crime when he brought him to the set.
"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," it read. "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."
See original story below.
Director Shane Black often casts his friend, Steven Wilder Striegel (credited as Steve Wilder), in his films. The 47-year-old actor had small parts in Black's Iron Man 3, Swing State, and The Nice Guys, among other films. He was also slated to appear in Black's upcoming action thriller, The Predator, until it was discovered that Striegel is a registered sex offender.
The Los Angeles Times reports Olivia Munn, who also stars in the film, found out Streigel pled guilty in 2010 to allegations of him reaching out to a 14-year-old to over the internet to start a sexual relationship. Munn later brought the information to Fox which demanded Striegel's three-page scene, which briefly shows him jogging and hitting on Munn, be cut from the movie.
"Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel’s background when he was hired," a Fox spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times. "We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors."
Munn said that she found it "both surprising and unsettling that Shane Black, our director, did not share this information to the cast, crew, or Fox Studios prior to, during, or after production" but she's "relieved that when Fox finally did receive the information, the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder prior to release of the film."
Black has since said he knew of Striegel's past but "personally chose to help a friend." He said he can "understand others might disapprove," but he believed Striegel was "caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous."
Aside from The Predator, Striegel has a few more films coming up including Val Kilmer–starring comedy 1st Born, horror film Hallucinogen, '80s drama Raunch and Roll, and another comedy titled Misfits. The Predator is slated to arrive in theaters on Sept. 14.