Jon Peters is credited as a producer on Bradley Cooper’s lovingly crafted remake of A Star is Born, starring Cooper and Lady Gaga as the leads. Jezebel reports that Cooper claims he was unaware of Peters’ troubled past when he signed on to the film. Jezebel ran a previous story detailing numerous allegations against Peters’ throughout his career just this past Tuesday.
Following publication of that piece, Warner Bros., the studio in charge of distribution for the film, almost immediately distanced itself from the situation in a statement they released to Variety.
“Jon Peters’ attachment to this property goes as far back as 1976. Legally, we had to honor the contractual obligation in order to make this film,” the statement read.
Cooper himself says he might have done things differently if he was more aware of Peters’ past. He said Peters had to consent because of a grandfather clause; Peters is the rights holder of the property, and while Cooper knew his consent was necessary, he said he did not know of his history.
“And if I had known all those things, I would have done it differently,” Cooper said. “And I guess it’s… I wanted to make the movie, I knew I had to get consent from him, otherwise there’s no film. But I should have checked. I guess that’s the thing.”
The original film starred Judy Garland and James Mason as Esther Blodgett and James Mason. Peters produced the 1976 remake of the film, which starred Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Cooper and Gaga star in the third iteration of the classic film, in which an actor whose career is waning finds inspiration in helping a starlet on the rise.
Peters was sued many times for sexual harassment, and most of the cases settled out of court. In one shocking revelation, his former personal assistant, Shelly Morita, said that Peters exposed himself to her and her 2-year old daughter. It was just one event in many instances of harassment, but Morita had had enough. She was scared to quit, especially as a single parent, but it was the final straw.
“I think I would have gone away and never done anything, but he crossed the line with my daughter,” she explained. “That’s what set me off. I was like, ‘I’m not going to put up with this.'”
She worked for him for about a year starting in February, 2005, and filed suit in December, 2006. She said all incidents recounted in the lawsuit are true. Allegations include unwanted exposure, touching, suggestive comments, and more.
It does not appear that Peters was heavily involved in the making of the new film, but consent from him was required as he held producer’s rights to the project. The Producer’s Guild of America, or PGA, said that he did not receive a guild mark for the film, which is reserved for heavily involved producers.
However, he will still profit from the film.