Ian Ziering Speaks Out After Jessica Alba Says She Couldn't Make Eye Contact with 90210 Cast
Jessica Alba said she was instructed to avoid looking at the cast in the eye when she appeared as a guest star on Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1998
The 56-year-old actor, who played Steve Sanders on the beloved series, tells PEOPLE he does not doubt Alba's claim.
"I’m not doubting her but I doubt that it came from any cast member," the star tells PEOPLE. "Maybe it came from some third AD who decided to flex a little and said 'Please don’t look at the actors.' "
"That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard," he says, referring to what Alba was told.
Ziering says he knows his costars would not have asked for such a thing also.
"And knowing the people that I’ve worked with my whole life, nobody would ever say that. It’s impossible to even wrap my head around anyone asking someone —particularly Jessica Alba! — not to look at them.”
Last week, Alba, 39, appeared on an episode of the web series Hot Ones. When asked about her experiences on popular TV shows as an up-and-coming actress, the L.A.'s Finest star recalled her time as a guest star on Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1998, remembering that she was instructed not to make eye contact with the cast.
"On the set of 90210, I couldn’t even make eye contact with any of the cast members, which was really strange when you’re, like, trying to do a scene with them," she said. "Yeah, it was like, 'You’re not allowed to make eye contact with anyone of the cast members or you’ll be thrown off the set.' "
Alba appeared in season 8 of the show, playing a pregnant teen named Leanne.
On Tuesday Ziering said during an appearance on Access that he was upset to hear Alba was instructed to not look at him and the cast.
"How that was told to Jessica, it saddens me because it lessened the experience for her — certainly didn't slow her down in life — but it's hard to hear that there was any negativity on the set," the Swamp Thing star said.
Ziering's former costar Jason Priestley also addressed about the claim on Tuesday, telling KiSS 92.5's The Roz & Mocha Show, "'Don't look at the stars of the show' was never an edict that came down on our show. I don't know who told Jessica Alba not to look at us."
"I don’t know what Jessica Alba’s experience was coming on our show as a guest star. I know that certainly I never would have made her feel that way," Priestley, 51, said.
"I don’t even think I worked with her," he continued. "She was in a storyline that I had nothing to do with so I don’t know what her experience was on the show, but I’m sorry that that happened to her and it seems really incongruous with everything else that happened on our show."
Beverly Hills, 90210 alums Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth recently commented on Alba's allegation in a teaser for their upcoming 90210MG iHeartRadio podcast. When asked if there was any truth to the claim, Garth, 48, said she couldn't remember.
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"Tori, did you — I just need to know, did you tell her not to look me in the eye?" Garth asked Spelling.
"Why's it all about you?" Spelling, 47, responded with a laugh.
"Well, because I had all the scenes with her," Garth said. "Like, if anybody was, you know, didn't want to have their eyes looked into, it would've been me. But I don't remember, because I have the world's worst memory."
Spelling also didn't seem to remember and wondered "if there was some cool memo that was like going around from the producers or the ADs and we didn't even know."
Garth added of Alba, "I only remember her being super talented. She was very young and she was really sweet, and it does not surprise me that she's gone on to be so successful."