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Former Bachelorette Producer Sues Warner Bros. for Alleged Sexual Harassment on Set

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ABC

On Monday, a former producer for The Bachelorette filed a complaint against the show’s production company Warner Bros. and five other producers from the show, alleging that she was sexually harassed on set

According to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and obtained by PEOPLE, producer Becky Steenhoek says she was repeatedly asked sexually explicit questions on set by five of the show’s executive and cast producers during the 2016 season of the show, which starred JoJo Fletcher.

“We take all allegations of workplace harassment very seriously,” Warner Bros. said in a statement to PEOPLE.  “These allegations were brought to our attention and were thoroughly investigated earlier this year.  Our findings did not support the plaintiff’s characterization of the events claimed to have taken place, which is why we are disappointed by the filing of this lawsuit.”

The complaint states that “Soon into the filming of “The Bachelorette’ (Season 12), Steenhoek witnessed and experienced daily and pervasive discussions about sex. None of the sexual talk was related to the production of the show or assisting in the creative process. lnstead, the production team bragged — in graphic detail — about their personal, sexual conduct and directed sexually charged, deeply personal inquires to Steenhoek despite her clear indications that she was uncomfortable discussing her personal sex life.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Steenhoek said the other producers “could visibly tell it was very uncomfortable to me to witness, just because they did make comments like, ‘Oh, Becky’s blushing,’ or ‘Her ears are probably burning.’ ”

“It was a bit of a theme that carried on throughout the season … it was a fun time for them to see me get embarrassed,” she continued.

According to the Times, Steenhoek complained about the alleged inappropriate behavior to a fellow producer but was told “this is just how it is.”

“This is locker-room talk,” Steenhoek continued, describing the conversation she had with the producer at the time. “This is their way of showing that they’re trying to bond with you.

Within days of complaining, Steenhoek told the Times she started getting excluded from production meetings, and she said she was fired on April 17.

Steenhoek, 31, is suing for damages related to sexual harassment and hostile work environment, sex discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination.

“It tainted my whole view of the industry,” she told the Times. “I wasn’t protected. When we sign our paperwork, we’re given a sexual harassment policy that says ‘any unwanted — whether it’s verbal or physical — sexual advances that makes the person feel uncomfortable and is unwelcome, that you’re supposed to report that and it’s not allowed.”

“I think it’s an industry-wide problem — these executives are untouchable,” she continued. “If you report it, you get retaliated against, you get fired because then you’re not a team player. If you don’t report it, then it was essentially me not being me. I would have had to sacrifice my values and my morals for something I didn’t think was right, and I’m not gonna do that.”