TV presenter Lisa Guerrero sexually propositioned by Steven Seagal

October 13, 2017 1:31 pm Published by :
TV presenter Lisa Guerrero sexually propositioned by Steven Seagal

In 1996, Guerrero was a 31-year-old with a few minor roles to her credit (Matlock, Batman Returns ) when her manager, Lorraine Berglund, phoned with exciting news. “They want you to read for the female lead in a Steven Seagal film,” Berglund said, “but the audition is going to be held at his house in Beverly Hills.”

In the mid-’90s, Seagal was a box-office juggernaut, but Guerrero was wary of the offer. The casting agency offered to send a female associate, Shari Rhodes, to accompany Guerrero on the audition. “This was potentially a huge break for me,” Guerrero says, “but there was no way I was going there by myself.”

Upon arrival, Guerrero and Rhodes were greeted by Seagal, who answered the door clad only in a silk robe. He ushered them into a side room, where he sat in an oversized, ornate chair on a platform (“We called it ‘the throne,” says Guerrero) and asked Guerrero to read her scenes. When she finished, Seagal, who was also a producer on the film, Fire Down Below, said, “You’re fantastic! Tell me about yourself.”

“I drove home feeling pretty good about the audition,” Guerrero recalls, “and that same day my manager called. ‘Steven wants to offer you the lead,’ she said, ‘but you have to go back to his home for a private rehearsal tonight.’”

Guerrero declined. The lead role of Sarah Kellogg in that film went to Marg Helgenberger (of CSI fame), but Guerrero was given a small part. On the day she arrived on set, she spotted Seagal talking to male crew members. From Guerrero’s perspective, it seemed like a scene out of high school. “He was looking at me and then he’d say something to them and there’d be laughter,” says Guerrero, who was listed in the film’s credits as “Blonde Beauty.” “Finally he approached me and asked, ‘Would you like to go into my dressing room?’”

Once again, Guerrero declined. She has never seen Fire Down Below and as far as she knows, her scene was cut. “When I read about Harvey Weinstein, the reports of him appearing in a robe triggered me,” she says. “That’s exactly what Steven Seagal did. I found out later that he was notorious for this.”

An Inside Edition report that will air Thursday evening includes multiple allegations against Seagal spanning more than two decades. One of his accusers, Jenny McCarthy, said that during a casting session she was ushered into a room with Seagal, who said, “So you were [Playboy’s] Playmate of the Year? Take off your dress.”

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That’s Hollywood, says Guerrero. “As an aspiring actress you have zero leverage,” says Guerrero, who appeared in the 2011 Oscar-nominated film Moneyball. “Who was I going to go to complain about sex discrimination? He was both the star and a producer on the film.”

10_12_guerrero_01‘Inside Edition’ correspondent Lisa Guerrero tells Newsweek “nearly every woman I know in Hollywood has been ‘Weinsteined’ in their careers.GETTY IMAGES

Guerrero later ventured into sports reporting, but was unable to escape the casting-couch syndrome