A second sexual harassment case has been filed against Geffen Records and its subsidiaries, alleging that the company did not act on complaints that female employees were being abused by former DGC Records exec Marko Babineau and other company officials.
Cynthia Anthony, 44, a promotions director for Geffen from 1984 to 1990, filed suit yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court against various Geffen corporate entities and company chairman David Geffen, former DGC Records general manager Babineau, Geffen Records president Ed Rosenblatt, David Geffen Co. chief financial officer Jim Walker, former Geffen/DGC general manager Al Coury, David Geffen Co. president Eric Eisner and various John Does.
Anthony’s claims mirrored those of former Geffen secretary Penny Muck, who filed a sexual harassment suit last year against the company (Daily Variety, Nov. 15, 1991). The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Geffen Records has quietly settled the suit by agreeing to pay Muck $ 500,000.
Babineau later left the company and has since started work as an independent radio promotions man. According to the Times, Geffen Records admitted no guilt nor acknowledged any criminal wrongdoing in settling the matter.
Muck’s attorney Benjamin Schonbrun declined comment, as did a representative for Geffen Records. Babineau could not be reached for comment.
Anthony’s complaint said that Babineau began harassing her almost immediately after her employment began, but that she refrained from saying anything for fear of losing her job. The suit also alleges that another promotion department employee, Peter Napoliello, participated with Babineau in harassing a department staffer, Bridgette Brookman.
The complaint alleges that Walker, Rosenblatt and Coury did not respond to Anthony’s complaints about the harassment and that Babineau threatened to fire her for bringing the complaints. Anthony’s suit claims the company did begin classes on sexual harassment that resulted in company attorney Norman Beal and Geffen Co. president Eric Eisner being informed of the charges.
According to the complaint, Eisner spoke to Babineau, who “cried and pleaded to be given another opportunity.” Anthony was allegedly allowed to become the conduit for harassment complaints by Geffen employees. The complaint states Babineau continued to harass female employees.
The complaint also says that at a weekly marketing meeting, Rosenblatt made a lewd comment and gesture.
Anthony quit in October 1990 and went to work for Hollywood Records, where, she contends, her duties were diminished when she began voicing support for Muck’s suit and indicated that she could be involved in the litigation. The complaint alleges an unnamed Hollywood Records administrator was a close personal friend of an administrator at Geffen.
A spokeswoman for Hollywood Records said the company would have no comment.
Dan Stormer, attorney for Anthony, said yesterday he anticipated that several other Geffen staffers would come forward, but did not say how many or if his firm would represent them.
Muck, who also worked as a secretary in the Geffen promotion department, alleged that DGC Records department head Babineau had repeatedly fondled her and subjected her to other forms of physical and verbal harassment. The lurid details contained in the suit were Topic A across the entertainment industry for months after the suit was filed.
Muck had claimed Geffen officials, who were advised of the harassment against her, did not inform her that other women in the company had complained about Babineau. Muck and Schonbrun said when the suit was filed that various employees at the company would step forward and support Muck’s claims during the course of the litigation.