Steven Seagal is an American actor, producer, screenwriter, martial artist, and musician who holds American, Serbian, and Russian citizenship.
Seagal was born in Lansing, Michigan. A 7th-dan black belt in aikido, he began his adult life as a martial arts instructor in Japan, becoming the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in the country. He later moved to Los Angeles, California, where he had the same profession. In 1988, Seagal made his acting debut in Above the Law. By 1991, he had starred in four successful films. In 1992, he played Navy SEAL counter-terrorist expert Casey Ryback in Under Siege. During the latter half of the 1990s, Seagal starred in three more feature films and the direct-to-video film The Patriot. Subsequently, his career shifted to mostly direct-to-video productions. He has since appeared in films and reality shows, including Steven Seagal: Lawman, which depicted Seagal performing his duties as a reserve deputy sheriff.
Seagal is a guitarist and has released two studio albums, Songs from the Crystal Cave and Mojo Priest, and performed on the scores of several of his films. He has worked with Stevie Wonder and Tony Rebel, who both performed on his debut album. He has also been involved in a line of “therapeutic oil” products and energy drinks. In addition, Seagal is a known environmentalist, animal rights activist, and supporter of 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. He is known for his outspoken political views and support of Vladimir Putin, to whom he once referred as “one of the great living world leaders”. He was granted Russian citizenship in 2016. In 2018, he was appointed Russia’s special envoy to the U.S.
From 1996 to 2018, multiple women accused Seagal of sexual harassment or assault.
In May 1991 (during the filming of Out for Justice), Warner Bros. employees Raenne Malone, Nicole Selinger, and Christine Keeve accused Seagal of sexual harassment. In return for remaining silent, Malone and another woman received around $50,000 each in an out-of-court settlement. Around the same time, at least four actresses claimed that Seagal had made sexual advances, typically during late-night “casting sessions”.
In another incident, Jenny McCarthy claimed that Seagal asked her to undress during an audition for Under Siege 2.
In 1995, Seagal was charged with employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and breach of contract. Cheryl Shuman filed a case against Seagal, accusing him of threatening and beating her during the filming of On Deadly Ground. In August 1995, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki dismissed the case, calling the claims “repetitive and unintelligible”.
On April 12, 2010, 23-year-old Kayden Nguyen filed a lawsuit against Seagal in a Los Angeles County Superior Court, requesting more than one million dollars in damages. In her suit, Nguyen alleged Seagal engaged in sexual harassment, the illegal trafficking of females for sex, failure to prevent sexual harassment, and wrongful termination. Seagal denied the allegations, but his reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman was suspended while his attorneys resolved the case. On July 14, 2010, three months after Nguyen filed her suit, she withdrew her claim without explanation.
On August 30, 2011, Jesus Sanchez Llovera filed a lawsuit against Seagal over his part in a Maricopa county police raid with heavy weapons (notably including an army surplus tank) of Llovera’s residence for suspicion of cockfighting. The incident was taped for Seagal’s A&E reality show, Steven Seagal: Lawman. Llovera was seeking $100,000 for damages caused during the raid, and a letter of apology from Seagal to Llovera’s children for the death of their family pet. Llovera claimed that his 11-month-old puppy was shot and killed during the raid. Llovera failed to file court-ordered paperwork after his attorney withdrew from the case and the lawsuit was dismissed in January 2013.
In 2017, actress Portia de Rossi accused Seagal of sexually harassing her during a movie audition. De Rossi alleged that during an audition in Seagal’s office, he told her “how important it was to have chemistry off-screen” before unzipping his pants. On November 9, 2017, Dutch model Faviola Dadis posted a statement on her Instagram account stating that she also had been sexually assaulted by Seagal years earlier.
On January 15, 2018, actress Rachel Grant publicly accused Seagal of sexually assaulting her in 2002, during pre-production on his direct-to-video film, Out for a Kill (2003), stating that she lost her job on the film after the incident. In February 2018, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office acknowledged that it was reviewing a potential sex abuse case involving Seagal. In March 2018, Regina Simons publicly claimed that in 1993, when she was 18, Seagal raped her at his home when she arrived for what she thought was a wrap party for the movie On Deadly Ground.
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