A tearful Arianne Zucker alleged on Thursday that despite her “loyalty to Ken Corday and Corday Productions,” her desire to stand up for herself and for other women is what “got me pushed out of my longtime career” on Days of Our Lives.
A day after Zucker slapped Corday and former director/executive producer Albert Alarr with a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, Zucker met with the press in West Los Angeles to explain how she believes she was retaliated against for speaking up about how she and other women were treated on set.
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The actress who starred as Nicole Walker on the Peacock sudser alleges her salary was reduced and her contract ultimately not renewed because she spoke out against Alarr, who lost his job in August after Deadline revealed he’d been the subject of an investigation into allegations that included inappropriate comments and touching, including groping and forceful kissing, as well as creating a toxic environment on the show and governing by fear.
“For quite some time I’ve seen my female coworkers sexually harassed, violated and degraded as women by Albert,” Zucker said. “I myself have also been degraded, violated and degraded. In March of 2023, several female employees were fired. There was complete dissolution of the all-female PR department. Female contracts were not renewed, or they were not returning because of the way they were being treated on the show. Females were moved to recurring roles … feeling like if they do or say something, it would be swept under the rug. Or they would be fired.”
(WATCH) Veteran soap actress Arianne Zucker, who started as Nicole Walker on Peacock’s ‘Days of Our Lives’ until her contract expired in January, speaks out on her lawsuit against Ken Corday, Corday Prods. and former director/EP Albert Alarr alleging sexual harassment pic.twitter.com/QlKphgXxH4
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) February 8, 2024
After attempting to talk to Corday and his staff about her concerns, Zucker said she approached the HR department at Sony, which distributes the show. Once an investigation was underway, Alarr remained on set and was still able to watch love scenes, albeit from the booth. Zucker added that DoOL did not employ an intimacy coordinator at the time.
After lodging her complaints, Zucker said her agents received two notices that Corday was reducing her pay before her character was ultimately written off. Her character was brought back after Alarr was dropped from the show, but Zucker alleged she was treated differently by male staffers who were close to the former director/EP.
Her contract on the show expired last month, though her character will continue to be seen on the show through the summer. Zucker did not address where negotiations are with the show; she did not take questions after the press conference.
After the lawsuit was filed Wednesday, Corday Prods. released this statement: “The allegations in Ms. Zucker’s lawsuit are 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. Complaints about Mr. Alarr’s on-set behavior were promptly investigated. Corday Productions fully cooperated with the impartial investigation and subsequently terminated Mr. Alarr.”
Added Robert M. Barta, attorney for Alarr: “As Albert said when Ms. Zucker first leveled these outrageous claims through the press last year, her baseless allegations were examined in a detailed and entirely independent investigation that lasted for two months. Dozens of individuals cooperated and every claim was thoroughly looked into. At the end of that process, the decision was made that Albert should continue in his role as Co-Executive Producer of Days of Our Lives. 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. 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 ended the press conference in tears. “So for all my coworkers, who were scared for being fired, you all were all right. After my loyalty to Ken Corday and Corday productions for 25 years and loving the show with all my heart and working to my highest ability, standing up for myself and others is clearly what got me pushed out of my longtime career. The struggle to create a safe balanced and fair environment continues on.”