‘Law & Order: SVU’ Showrunner David Graziano Accused of Bullying and ‘Super Toxic’ Behavior

David Graziano, who was named the new showrunner of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” ahead of its record 24th season, has been accused of creating “toxic” work environments and of inappropriate behavior and comments on his previous series, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday.

According to the article, the allegations of bullying date back at least 10 years.

“The implication that Mr. Graziano created a hostile work environment, or is sexist, inappropriate and unprofessional is false,” his spokesperson Alafair Hall told TheWrap. “‘Please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘excuse me,’ are words seldom heard in writers’ rooms where the focus is murder.”

When the news that “SVU” had tapped Graziano broke, Amy Hartman, who worked as a script coordinator on his Paramount drama “Coyote,” wrote on an email thread, “Graz is super toxic and I’ve never run from a job so fast in my life as I did when I SC’ed for him. Stay away.”

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She later told the Times, “Every day I was in fight or flight. I was completely floored that he was working again and working on that show.”

“SVU” is known for championing victim’s rights on and off-screen and for its strong female lead and co-producer Mariska Hargitay, who regularly stands up to powerful, misogynistic men on the series.

Haley Cameron, a script supervisor who resigned shortly after Graziano’s arrival, warned others not to take the job in the same email thread that Hartman commented on.

“The new showrunner, David Graziano, is a very unprofessional, ego-centric, and immature man. I have been in this industry a long time, and I have never experienced such pure, white-male misogyny,” Cameron wrote.

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Graziano’s rep noted that Cameron served in a an entry level position for less than a month, and that her claims about Graziano were “false” and undermined by the fact she was about to be fired over concerns he had raised about her “unprofessional” job performance — including making unapproved script changes.

Several people, men and women, who spoke to the Times, did so under condition of anonymity.

A former assistant who worked with Graziano between 2009 and 2012 and discussed and documented his behavior with friends and family, told The Times, “It’s upsetting because I looked at him as a mentor and considered him as close as family, but the amount of manipulation and gaslighting and bad behavior broke my trust. It did a number on my self-esteem.”

One colleague, who also commented anonymously, said, “He’s very charismatic and a great storyteller and pitcher, which was very disarming to me and other writers,” but added that to work with Graziano required him to “build up armor and really protect yourself emotionally.”

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Graziano admitted to the Times that he was “a difficult person to work” with during the production of “Coyote,” citing pain from three collapsed discs in his neck.

Someone who was in the room during an alleged clash over casting for a character on the Tim Roth-led Fox series “Lie to Me” said, “I’ve experienced bullying a few times in this business and this was a more egregious example of it.”

Graziano denied making exist or racist comments described elsewhere in the article.

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“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 a statement given to the newspaper.

“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,” he said. “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.”

TheWrap has reached out to NBC and Wolf Entertainment for comment.

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