August 13, 2011 / 12:41 AM / 8 years ago

Film producer Jon Peters accused in harassment case

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood producer Jon Peters’ former personal assistant testified on Friday that he crawled into bed with her uninvited at an Australian hotel.

Shelly Morita’s testimony came in a Los Angeles Superior Court trial of her $1 million sexual harassment lawsuit against the 66 year-old producer of such films as “Superman Returns” and “Batman”.

Peters, who spent time working as a hair stylist in the 1970s, is thought to be one of the inspirations for actor Warren Beatty’s womanizing hairdresser in the 1975 film “Shampoo.” He was not in court on Friday.

Morita, 44, said that when she and Peters were staying in separate hotel rooms in Australia during the making of “Superman Returns” in 2005, she was startled to find her boss lying next to her in the middle of the night.

“He said, ‘I can’t sleep ... I’m lonely, let me just stay here with you,’” Morita testified. Morita said she repeatedly told Peters to leave, and that he eventually did.

She also told the court that later on the trip, Peters urged her to share a joint of marijuana with him.

“He leaned over and pushed his face against my mouth and blew smoke,” she said. “I pushed him off. He laughed and thought it was funny.”

Peters denies the allegations and his lawyers contend that they were concocted with help from an attorney representing plaintiffs in other cases against Peters.

Peters launched his producing career with the 1976 film “A Star Is Born” featuring Barbra Streisand.

Morita, who filed her lawsuit in 2006 after quitting her job, is seeking $1 million for emotional distress and $500,000 in lost wages, plus punitive damages.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant

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