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Producer Peters slapped with 2 suits

One former employee claims he harassed her; two others say he made an improper demand.

December 27, 2007|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

Producer Jon Peters, whose films include "Batman" and "Superman Returns," has been sued by three former employees -- one a woman who alleges that she was sexually harassed by Peters and the other a couple who said the producer wanted the wife to have an abortion or he would fire her husband.

All three had been hired by Peters to help maintain his home and offices in Malibu Colony, according to the two lawsuits, which were filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court by attorney Lisa L. Maki.

Neither Peters nor his attorney could be reached Wednesday for comment.

Blanca Hernandez alleged in her suit that Peters "systematically sexually harassed" her on nearly a daily basis. The incidents included unwanted touching, hugging and attempting to push Hernandez into bed while Peters was naked. The suit also claimed that Peters attempted to kiss her breasts, referring to them as "pillows."

Hernandez said she complained about Peters to an official at Peters' production company, Peters Entertainment. But the suit stated that the official told her she should comply with Peters' request "because he was a powerful person and she would keep her job if she complied."

The suit claimed that Hernandez was afraid to complain to outside authorities about Peters because of his alleged practice of falsely accusing staff members of stealing from him after they quit or were fired. When she did complain about the producer to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, he falsely accused her of stealing a $10,000 lamp, the suit said.

The suit also alleged that an official at Peters Entertainment warned her that if she complained about Peters, "her and her daughter would be murdered." Hernandez was fired July 25, 2006, after approximately a year on the job, according to court papers.

Adriana and Andrew Silveira contended in their lawsuit that after she learned she was pregnant in June 2006, her husband was told by Peters that if he wanted to keep his job, she should have an abortion. The lawsuit did not make clear why Peters allegedly made the demand. When the couple refused, Peters sent Andrew Silveira an e-mail informing him that he was being fired, the suit stated.

Each suit seeks unspecified damages.

Peters was sued in December 2006 by a former personal assistant, Shelly Morita, who alleged that he fondled her and climbed into bed with her in an Australian hotel during the 2005 filming of "Superman Returns." Trial in that case is set for April 21.

Peters' career in Hollywood is legendary. He rose from being a hairdresser on the set of "For Pete's Sake" to running Columbia Pictures with producer Peter Guber, and then producing hit films such as "Batman."

In his heyday, Peters was romantically linked to some of the world's most glamorous women, including Barbra Streisand, "Batman" star Kim Basinger, Pamela Anderson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Swedish supermodel Vendela. Warren Beatty's character in "Shampoo" was said to be inspired by Peters.


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