Steven DeKnight Walks Back ‘Toxic’ Comments About ‘Wednesday’ Star Jenna Ortega

The “Spartacus” producer referred to his previous criticism of the actress as “an unfortunate situation”

Jenna Ortega, Steven DeKnight
Jenna Ortega (Netflix), Steven DeKnight (Getty Images)

Producer Steven DeKnight is walking back his critique from last week of “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega in which he called her “toxic” and “unprofessional.”

On Wednesday, he tweeted, “She’s an amazing talent. It was just an unfortunate situation to expose creative differences publicly, and also I’ll admit that writers are on edge because of the impending strike, myself included. A perfect storm.”

The brouhaha began with her appearance on the Armchair Expert podcast, in which she told host Dax Shepard of the steps she took on behalf of her character on the Netflix series: “I don’t think I’ve ever had to put my foot down more on a set in a way that I had to on ‘Wednesday.’”

The 20-year-old actress, who also stars in “Scream VI” and “X,” told Shepard, “I became almost unprofessional in a sense, where I just started changing lines. I had to sit down with the writers, and they’d be like, ‘Wait, what happened to the scene?’ And I’d have to go and explain why I couldn’t go do certain things.”

DeKnight, who has not worked with Ortega, blasted the actress on Twitter on May 7, saying, “She’s young, so maybe she doesn’t know any better (but she should). She should also ask herself how she would feel if the showrunners gave an interview and talked about how difficult she was and refused to perform the material.”

He also wrote of her comments to Shepard, “This kind of statement is beyond entitled and toxic. I love her work, but life’s too short to deal with people like this in the business.”

After pushback from “Wednesday” fans, he called Ortega “fantastic” and said that it was “a learning experience for everyone.”

“She’s fantastic, which I keep saying over and over. It was an unfortunate gaffe to say that publicly. We’ve all had them. Learning experience for everyone. Me included,” he tweeted Wednesday evening.

He concluded his thread with, “Back to work. Try, as always, to be kind to each other even when we vehemently disagree. And yes, there are times that I need to heed my own advice. We are all emotional works-in-progress. Love to all of you.”

DeKnight’s credits include “Spartacus,” “Smallville,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Angel.” He also directed “Pacific Rim: Uprising.”

“Wednesday,” which is produced by Tim Burton, was renewed for a second season in January.