Arianne Zucker, a longtime star of “Days of Our Lives,” filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging that she and others were sexually harassed by the show’s co-executive producer.
Zucker alleges that Albert Alarr, who was fired last summer, routinely made offensive sexual comments, tightly hugged Zucker and other women and bullied female employees.
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The suit alleges that Alarr enjoyed filming aggressive sex scenes and threesome scenes. Once while directing Zucker in a sex scene, Alarr told her co-star, “believe me, I’d love to switch positions with you,” according to the complaint.
She alleges that Alarr would also give direction like, “Fuck him like you were younger!” After unwanted touching or inappropriate comments, he would routinely say “good thing there is no HR here,” the lawsuit states.
Last March, Zucker complained to the head of the show’s production company, Ken Corday. Her complaints, and those of others, were ultimately routed to Sony’s human resources department. Ultimately, 30 witnesses participated in the HR investigation, filing their own complaints or providing corroboration, according to the suit.
During the investigation, Zucker alleges that her pay was cut in retaliation for coming forward. In June 2023, her character was written off the show, and Zucker was not told whether her character would appear again, according to the suit.
The suit alleges that Alarr was only fired after media reports came out about the investigation.
Zucker has appeared on the show for 25 years. When her contract came up for renewal last fall, she was given a “take it or leave it” offer, the lawsuit alleges. Zucker alleges that she has effectively been terminated in retaliation for speaking up against Alarr.
At the time of his firing, Alarr said that the investigation had been prompted by two people who were upset about budget cuts on the show, and who were angling for better pay.
“Their best strategy to get it was to play on vile stereotypes in order to bring down a Black man in a position of power,” he said in a written statement at the time.
He said that many of the claims against him were false, and others had been twisted so much as to be unrecognizable.
Alarr’s attorney, Robert Barta, reiterated that position Wednesday in a statement responding to the lawsuit. Barta said that the two-month investigation ended with the decision that Alarr should remain in his job.
“As Ms. Zucker’s own lawsuit all but admits, at a time of industry-wide cutbacks, she was aggressively seeking a significant personal pay increase and additional influence on the show,” Barta said. “Having failed in those attempts, she is now – again – trying to exploit vile stereotypes to denigrate and demean a Black man who was in a position of power. Well, enough is enough. Every day for decades, Albert worked with hundreds of people who can – and will – testify about the falsity of Ms. Zucker’s mischaracterizations of him. We relish having a chance to share the truth and putting an end to her offensive claims once and for all.”
Zucker is suing Alarr, Corday and Corday Productions. Among other allegations, she states that she had to keep working with Alarr during the HR investigation, and that he would sit in the booth and watch while she filmed bedroom scenes, wearing very little clothing.
In its own response, Corday Productions called the allegations “without merit.”
“Corday Productions offered to renew Ms. Zucker’s contract including offering her a pay increase. Rejecting Ms. Zucker’s counteroffer does not constitute retaliation,” a company spokesperson said. “Complaints about Mr. Alarr’s on-set behavior were promptly investigated. Corday Productions fully cooperated with the impartial investigation and subsequently terminated Mr. Alarr.”
Zucker is also known for appearing in the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Donald Trump made lewd references to sexual assault. Zucker was there to give Trump and the show’s co-host, Billy Bush, a tour of the “Days of Our Lives” set.
When the tape was released in October 2016, Zucker said on Twitter, “Unfortunately, there are too many people in power who abuse their position and disregard these simple principles and are rewarded for it. In understanding the magnitude of this situation, I choose to stand tall with self respect and use my voice to enrich, inspire and elevate the best of who we are as people.”
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