Apple sued for failing to stop sexual harassment during 'Emancipation' production

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Apple TV+ logo (Image credit: Apple TV+)

What you need to know

  • Apple is being sued for allegedly failing to stop sexual harassment during the production of its Apple TV+ movie Emancipation starring Will Smith.
  • Alicia Kelly claims that while working on 'Emancipation she was sexually assaulted by her boss in a hotel.
  • The supervisor had allegedly harassed her on a previous project with Lionsgate and continued to do so during Emancipation.

A woman who worked on the Apple TV+ movie 'Emancipation in a COVID support role has sued Apple over claims that the company failed to protect her from sexual harassment.

From Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. was sued by a woman who claims the company failed to protect her from sexual harassment while she was employed in a Covid support role on the set of the Will Smith thriller "Emancipation."

The suit, filed March 16 by Alicia Kelly, first claims that while working on the production of 'Hightown' with Lionsgate entertainment, she was harassed by not one but two of her bosses while working as a COVID testing coordinator:

Kelly said in the lawsuit that she was hired in October 2020 as a testing coordinator on the production of the "Hightown" television series in North Carolina. She claims she was harassed by her boss on the set, and when he was transferred his successor also harassed her, including by touching her breasts and buttocks.

The suit goes on to say that Kelly went on to work on Emancipation, a new Apple TV+ movie starring Will Smith, in New Orleans, where the harassment from the same boss continued continued:

After production wrapped on "Hightown" in March 2021, Kelly said she went to work in New Orleans, where "Emancipation" was going into production, after Apple moved the project from Georgia. Prior to the move, her boss sexually assaulted her in a hotel, Kelly claimed.Her supervisor from "Hightown" retained his job on "Emancipation" and continued to sexually harass her, according to the complaint.

The suit states that Apple, as well as Lionsgate, "had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the supervision of its subsidiaries, contractors, sub-contractors, and their employees" that both failed to carry out.

Kelly is also suing Montrose Environmental Group Inc. for gender discrimination and the Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health for wrongful dismissal.

Apple landed Emancipation back in July 2020. The movie is based on the story of a slave who evades capture in Louisiana and joins the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9