A former castmember of The Wonder Years has claimed that the show was cancelled after its star, Fred Savage, was one of two actors from the show who was sued for sexual harassment in 1993.
The coming of age drama, which aired in the US on ABC, ran from 1988 for six seasons before it was cancelled by the network in 1993.
Alley Mills, who played Savage’s TV mother Norma Arnold, has now claimed that The Wonder Years was cancelled because of the sexual harassment lawsuit.
“When we shot the series finale … nobody knew whether or not The Wonder Years was going to be renewed,” Mills told Yahoo. “And that’s because of a completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage — who is, like, the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the Earth.”
The lawsuit in question was filed in 1993 by costume designer Monique Long, who accused Savage – who was 16 at the time – and Jason Hervey (who played Wayne Arnold, and was 20 at the time of the suit) of sexual harassment.
Long alleged that the two actors verbally and physically harassed her, which she claimed prevented her from doing her job properly – causing her to be fired. Representatives for the show and for the actors denied the allegations at the time, and the suit was eventually dropped after an out-of-court settlement was reached.
“So I just thought [the lawsuit] was a big joke and it was going to blow over,” Mills continued about the end of The Wonder Years. “It’s a little bit like what’s happening now — some innocent people can get caught up in this stuff; it’s very tricky. It was so not true. It was my dresser, and I don’t care if she’s listening — I probably shouldn’t be telling this, but I don’t care because it was so long ago and it’s gotta be over now.”
Mills added that she “wasn’t allowed to talk” about the lawsuit in 1993. “Which made me so upset. We had a gag order on us, and I wanted to scream on television, ‘This is ridiculous!’”
Mills also alleged that ABC was behind the undisclosed settlement.
“I just thought this was a joke. You know, they bought her off, which really made me mad,” she says. “That was incorrigible that the network did that; they should never have paid her off. They wanted to avoid a scandal or something, but it made them look guilty. You know, you don’t pay someone off when there was no crime, you just fire the girl.”