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Jon Peters Sex Harassment Case Coming Up This Month as Hollywood Deals with Bad Boy Allegations

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Forget 3D movies or departing “American Idol” judges. The hottest topic of chatter in Hollywood these days might be harassment and inappropriate workplace behavior.

In the past few months, allegations of improper workplace behavior have swept through the entertainment industry. A lawsuit is pending against “Bones” star David Boreanaz and 20th Century Fox Television, and two suits have been filed against filmmaker/actor Casey Affleck by women who worked on his Joaquin Phoenix documentary. Just last week, ABC programing chief Stephen McPherson resigned amid an internal investigation of alleged inappropriate behavior.

And later this month, a trial is scheduled in Los Angeles Superior Court between “Superman Returns” producer Jon Peters [pictured] and a former assistant who claims she was harassed by, among other things, Peters exposing himself.

In each of these cases, all allegations of misconduct have been strenuously denied, and certainly, no misconduct has been proved.

Though these allegations have made their way into the public eye recently, “there are far more of these cases, but they are resolved confidentially and you never hear about it,” said attorney Lisa Maki, who often represents plaintiffs in Hollywood sex-harassment claims. “You’d be shocked how often these claims are brought in the entertainment business. It’s pretty rampant.”

Which raises the question: Given Hollywood’s often off-color creative environment and its inconsistent track record of dealing with the bad behavior of those who deliver hits, at what point is an entertainment company obligated to act on allegations of improper behavior of an employee?

Back story, February, 2010: Hotheaded Hollywood producer Jon Peters’ tell-all may be shelved, but the book proposal that rocked Tinseltown could be turned against him as evidence at a sexual-harassment trial.

Peters is being sued by his “Superman: Man of Steel” co-producer and former staffer, Brian Quintana, for sexual harassment. A jury trial is slated to start in LA on March 1 [now moved to August], just days before the Oscars. Peters strenuously denies Quintana’s claims.

Quintana’s wish list of witnesses he wants to subpoena reads like a Who’s Who of Hollywood, many of whom Peters threatened to dish on in his book. The leading ladies include Barbra Streisand, Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sharon Stone, Jennifer Lopez and Oprah Winfrey. Male stars include Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio. Among the directors on the list are Bryan Singer, Brett Ratner and JJ Abrams.

Quintana would also like to call Barry Diller, David Geffen, Benny Medina, Peter Guber and three of Peters’ ex-wives. There’s no guarantee anyone on Quintana’s list will have to take the stand unless they have evidence relevant to his case.

Quintana said, “Many people are annoyed about what Jon proposed to say about them in the book, so they won’t think twice about testifying against him.”


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