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Suit Accuses Movie Theaters' Managers of Sex Harassment

August 26, 1994|ERIC MALNIC | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A former employee filed a lawsuit against Cineplex Odeon and its Universal City Cinemas on Thursday, charging that the management of the movie theater complex at Universal Studios condoned a "pervasive environment of sexual harassment."

Karen Kenney, 26, who worked as a personnel manager for Universal City Cinemas for about a year and a half before she was fired, said she was fondled and subjected repeatedly to crude jokes and explicit accounts of their sexual exploits by other employees.

Named in the lawsuit, in addition to the firm, are assistant manager George Webb, general manager Jody Bolstad, operations chief Larry Oya and projectionist Tim Burke.

Richard Lotts, an attorney representing Cineplex Odeon and the cinemas, said he could not respond to the lawsuit because he had not yet read it.

In the lawsuit, Kenney said that after her complaints to Bolstad--her supervisor--about sexual harassment, he asked her to fill out a mock "employee evaluation" form replete with crude scatological and sexually explicit terms.

She said Burke fondled her after bragging about his skills at oral sex and Webb boasted about the size of his penis. Oya also made sexually suggestive remarks, Kenney said in the lawsuit.

She added that despite her complaints to Bolstad, the "complained-of conduct continued unchecked" until she was fired without reason on April 16, 1993.

Dan Stormer, the Pasadena attorney who filed the lawsuit on Kenney's behalf, has represented a number of other plaintiffs in highly publicized sexual harassment suits. One of these was resolved in 1993 when MCA Inc., parent company of Universal Studios, paid a tour employee about $600,000 in an out-of-court settlement. Universal City Cinemas is on the studio property but is not affiliated with the studio or MCA.

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