Jon Peters ordered to pay damages on sexual harassment claim
Hollywood producer Jon Peters was ordered Friday to pay $822,000 in damages to a former personal assistant after a Los Angeles jury found that she was sexually harassed and subjected to a hostile work environment.
Jurors also decided that Peters, 66, the former boyfriend of singer Barbra Streisand, acted with malice, a finding that triggers a further court hearing to determine if punitive damages should be awarded to Shelly Morita, who sued the producer and his company, J.P. Organization Inc., in December 2006.
Morita, 44, alleged that Peters inappropriately touched her at his Malibu home, crawled into bed with her at an Australian hotel and exposed himself to her and her then-2-year-old daughter in an outdoor restroom at his Santa Barbara ranch.
Morita, who worked for Peters for a year starting in February 2005, also claimed that the producer’s influence in Hollywood prevented her from obtaining another job after she quit his firm.
Defense attorneys contended that Morita had signed a release of all claims against Peters in January 2006, and they asserted that she had no witnesses to prove her allegations of sexual harassment.
Peters was a successful hairstylist in his family’s salon, where he made contacts in the movie industry. He went on to become the producer or the executive producer of such films as "Caddyshack," "Rain Man," "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "Superman Returns."
-- Dan Weikel
Photo: Jon Peters. Credit: Getty Images