The state of California filed a lawsuit against CBS and Disney's ABC Studios on Tuesday over allegations the show's cinematographer sexually harassed crew members for years.

According to the lawsuit filed by the state's Fair Employment and Housing department, the production team was aware that Gregory St. Johns, the series' cinematographer of 14 years, fired dozens of staff members after they resisted sexual advances.

The suit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, named ABC Signature Studios, CBS, the show's producers, and St. Johns as defendants.

The Allegation

State officials launched an investigation in March 2019 where they discovered the cinematographer groped the genitals and buttocks of male crew members. They also found complaints that the defendant kissed and caressed the staff's neck and shoulders.

It was also revealed he ostracized and shamed employees who resisted his advances. The suit alleges the executives overseeing the production approved the firings he recommended and complaints to the human resources department also did not result in discipline. The investigations carried out by corporate authorities were also aimed at hiding the cinematographer's deeds.

According to a report by Cinema Blend, a longtime camera operator named Todd Durboraw suffered harassment of the sexual variety for years on the set of Criminal Minds.

In the lawsuit he filed, Durbarow claims he was harassed in multiple ways by St. Johns since he was hired by the hit CBS drama in 2011. Durboraw said the cinematographer touched his private parts on an average of three times a week.

In the suit, St. Johns was accused of touching the camera operator's groin, buttocks, and his anus. He allegedly rubbed the complainant's earlobe and nipples. On one occasion, the defendant used his foot to touch Durboraw's groin and buttocks from behind.

Besides allegations of sexual misconduct, Durboraw also claimed St. Johns criticized and discriminated him whenever he took days off of work to accompany his daughter for follow-up surgeries. The cinematographer allegedly threatened his position and his chance at promotion.

According to the lawsuit, the cinematographer also harassed other staffers. At one point, the director of photography allegedly screamed into the radio devices to cause pain to those listening. He was caught pulling down a crew member's pants who was subsequently fired after he reported St. John's misconduct. The cinematographer also sent sex toys-including a dildo and an anal plug-as a "get well gift" when the crew member was hospitalized.


A spokesperson for ABC studios addressed the multi-damages and relief lawsuit filed by the state of California claiming they ensure a work environment free of discrimination and harassment.

"In this instance, the Company took corrective action. We cooperated with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing during its investigation, and we regret that we were unable to reach a reasonable resolution with the Department. We now intend to defend the asserted claims vigorously," the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, CBS has yet to respond formally.

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