One of Hollywood’s favorite restaurants is in the limelight this week for a less-than-stellar reason.
Nobu Malibu—which is frequented by stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, and Justin Bieber—was sued this week by a hostess for sexual assault, battery, gender discrimination, and retaliation, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. The unnamed plaintiff is hoping to receive at least $500,000 in damages.
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“As the first point of contact for Nobu customers Plaintiff, and young female hostesses like her, are expected to address and deflect whoever and whatever advances are made toward them, with a smile on their face, as guests walk through the entry doors,” the complaint states, according to the L.A. Times. “Therefore, it is ironic that despite requiring its hostesses be scantily clad and address patrons at varying levels of sobriety, Nobu does little to protect its hostesses from the unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances which reflexively result.”
The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and it alleges that systemic sexual harassment has been occurring at Nobu Malibu for years. In particular, it calls out a former supervisor and bar manager named Marcus, who is accused of inappropriately touching female staffers and making aggressive advances when drinking.
The plaintiff says that Marcus began pursuing her shortly after she was hired in 2020, and she and her hostess colleagues say that they reported his behavior to Nobu Malibu management. According to the claim, Marcus was fired in early 2022.
A lawyer for the plaintiff told the Los Angeles Times that she didn’t want to comment beyond what’s outlined in the lawsuit. A woman who answered the phone at Nobu on Thursday told the outlet “no comment,” while messages to the restaurant group and Nobu’s attorney were not returned. Nobu has similarly not responded to Robb Report’s requests for comment.
The star-studded Malibu restaurant is just one location in what is now a massive restaurant and hotel empire. It was founded by the celeb chef Nobu Matsuhisa alongside Robert De Niro and the producer Meir Teper.
“Because of its close proximity to Hollywood’s brightest stars, and Nobu’s ‘please the customer first’ mantra,” the lawsuit says, “Plaintiff and other young female hostesses performing the same role, endure outright sexual advances and abuse for the sake of maintaining Nobu’s glamourous [sic] reputation and keeping their jobs.”
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