It’s been almost 30 years since ABC’s coming-of-age series The Wonder Years has been on the air and actress Alley Mills has come forward with claims that the show’s cancellation was the result of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against her co-stars Fred Savage and Jason Hervey.
In an interview with Yahoo, Mills, who played the show’s matriarch, says that while shooting in what would be the series finale in Whittier, Calif., the cast didn’t know if the show was going to be renewed. She said it was because of a “completely ridiculous sexual harassment suit that was going on against Fred Savage.” She goes on to say that Savage “is the least offensive, most wonderful, sweet human being that ever walked the face of the earth…So I just thought it was a big joke and it was going to blow over.”
In a time when the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement are front and center in the industry, Mills points out that, at the time, it was such a joke but realizes how it is reflecting what is happening now.
“Some innocent people can get caught up in this stuff. It’s very tricky. It was so not true,” she said. “It was my [costumer], and I don’t care if she’s listening. I probably shouldn’t be telling this, but I don’t care because it’s so long ago and it’s gotta be over now.”
The costumer’s name is Monique Long. In 1993, she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against then 16-year-old Savage, who played the show’s star Kevin Arnold and then 20-year-old Hervey, who played his older brother. Long accused the actors of verbally and physically harassing her. Because of this, Long claimed she wasn’t able to do her job properly and was fired.
An undisclosed out-of-court-settlement was reached and the lawsuit was dropped. Mills said of the settlement: “I just thought this was a joke. You know, they bought her off, which really made me mad. 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.”