David Graziano, the newest Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner, is facing multiple allegations of bullying, "toxic" behavior, and other forms of misconduct, The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. A former script supervisor on the show quit within a month of Graziano's hiring, urging other women to think twice before working for him. A script coordinator who worked with him on a previous project called him "super toxic." Graziano admitted he is a "difficult person" to work with, but denied allegations of making inappropriate comments.
Graziano, 50, was hired as SVU's new showrunner in June before Season 24 began production. Shortly thereafter, script coordinator Haley Cameron quit and she published a concerning message on a listserv circulated among script coordinators, reports The Times. She called Graziano "a very unprofessional, ego-centric, and immature man," adding that she has "never experienced such pure, white-male misogyny" during her time in the industry. The production was an "absolute unorganized nightmare, Camron claimed, before urging anyone, "especially women," to think twice before working for Graziano. Cameron's post did not detail Graziano's allegedly unprofessional behavior and she did not comment to The Times.
In June, David Graziano was named showrunner of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” the crown jewel of creator Dick Wolf’s broadcast entertainment empire. But trouble was brewing behind the scenes.https://t.co/v3S5Qoxj5J— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 8, 2022
Graziano denied Cameron's allegations in a statement to The Times through his spokesperson, Alafair Hall. Cameron worked on SVU for a month in an "entry-level position," Graziano said, claiming Cameron quit before she could be fired over concerns about her job performance. A source close to NBCUniversal told The Times the studio investigated Cameron's allegations and found Graziano "was not operating outside of professional expectations." SVU execuitve producer Julie Martin and series star Mariska Hargitay did not comment.
However, those who worked with Graziano before SVU said they were surprised that a show about fighting predatory behavior would hire him. "Every day I was in fight or flight," Amy Hartman, who was a script coordinator for Graziano on the series Coyote, told The Times. "I was completely floored that he was working again and working on that show." The Times reported on several other allegations of misconduct from those who worked with Graziano in the past.
Graziano told The Times he was a "difficult person to work with" during Coyote because of three collapsed discs in his neck. However, he declined ever making inappropriate comments about women or people of color. Any controversial remarks he may have made were in the context of the stories.
"Though it would be easy and convenient, I refuse to blame some past behavior on the abuse I suffered as a child at the hands of a Catholic priest, as well as at home," Graziano said in his statement to the Times. "Anyone who has worked in a writers' room will know it is a matter, of course, to draw upon and use your own experience for the good of the show. Unfortunately, I have a lot to draw from – and with it comes a great deal of emotion, pain, and deeply felt personal history. All any of us can do is evolve and grow. Real change is hard, and I continue to work on myself daily."