In June 1992, the New York Post wrote an article featuring the cases of
two clients represented by Attorney James DeSimone. The article highlighted
DeSimone’s involvement in the sexual harassment lawsuits in Hollywood
and the entertainment industry at the time.
Penny Muck, a 28-year-old secretary, and Wayne Mogilefsky, a 23-year-old
screenwriter, came to DeSimone alleging that they had been sexually harassed
by their bosses. Muck, who worked at Geffen Records, claimed her boss,
Marko Babineau, fondled her, masturbated in front of her, and went as
far as to stick his penis in her ear.
Similarly, Mogilefsky claimed to experience sexual harassment from his
boss, Michael Levy, while working at Silver Pictures. Levy allegedly forced
Mogilefsky to watch pornography, asked him inappropriate questions like
how much he would charge for sex, and implied that they had sexual relations
to another employee. Both Levy and Babineau denied the allegations.
At the time, these cases indicated that Hollywood was ready for a change.
Situations of sexual harassment like these would no longer be tolerated
by victims. Executives and higher-ups in studios couldn’t keep turning
a blind eye simply because these producers and writers brought in lots
of money. By legally representing Muck and Mogilefsky, Attorney DeSimone
helped to lead the charge against sexual harassment in an industry notorious
for using sex and creating entertainment men that believe their actions
were untouchable. Justice was finally pursued for those who needed it.
You can read the full
New York Post article here.
Postscript: Hard as it seems to believe now, in the early 1990’s, California
courts had not recognized that male on male sex harassment violated the
Fair Employment and Housing Act. The only published decision discussing
male on male sex harassment compared it to horseplay. When Jim DeSimone
arrived at the Santa Monica Court house to represent Wayne Mogilefsky
in his quid pro quo male on male sex harassment lawsuit, he was stunned
when the trial Judge kicked the case out of court writing tersely, “not
a sex harassment case.” Going up against the biggest attorney names
in the business, DeSimone took on Hollywood in both the Mogilefsky v.
Silver Pictures and Muck v. Geffen cases. In Mogilefsky, DeSimone made
history, appealing the Judge’s decision and achieving justice in
Mogilefsky v. Superior Court, 20 Cal. App. 4th 1409 (1993) where the Court
not only held that sex harassment violates the law regardless of the gender
of the harasser and victim but that the motivation of the harasser is
irrelevant. Sex harassment violates the law even if the motivation is
hostility. DeSimone not only got the attention of Hollywood, he made precedent
setting law which continues to help victims of sexual harassment to this day.
Contact V. James DeSimone Law for Assistance with Your Case
Over 20 years later, Attorney James DeSimone is still helping victims of
sexual harassment in the workplace get the justice they deserve. If you
have been subjected to unwanted touches, advances, or gestures from an
employee or employer at your work place, you should seek legal action.
Call our employment law attorney today at (310) 626-1478 for a
free case consultation!