Alki David, 51, the billionaire founder of FilmOn, an internet-based television provider, was ordered by a California jury to pay $8 million in punitive damages in a case involving sexual battery against a former employee. Both of the companies he founded must pay for the damages. His other company is Hologram USA, which produced holographic images of the late Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur and currently operates a Hollywood hologram theater.
The punitive damages award was announced on April 26, one day after the jury found David guilty of sexually harassment and battery against former FilmOn sales executive Chastity Jones, 42.
The jury ordered David, along with his businesses, to pay a total of $4.6 million in compensatory damages, but lowered the amount to $3.1 million the following day after the jury forewoman said the original amount was an error because they included punitive damages by mistake.
When it came to the $8 million punitive damages decision, the jury deliberated for less than 90 minutes. David said he will appeal the verdict.
Punitive damages are awarded when a party’s behavior is particularly egregious, and David managed to show that side of himself in the courtroom. During the trial, David was escorted from the courtroom after verbally assaulting Jones’ attorney while David was on the witness stand and in front of the jury.
David referred to Jones’ attorney as “an abhorrent woman.” The Hollywood Reporter notes that Jones’ attorney wanted David to take the stand so she could prove a punitive damage award was appropriate. Knowingly or not, David made her point.
Even David’s attorney referred to him as “coarse and crude,” although she denied he sexually attacked Jones. Jones’ lawyer, on the other hand, said David’s courtroom behavior mirrored his work behavior. The jury also noted that FilmOn management should have known about David’s harassing behavior and failed to address it.
Jones was not the only former employee suing David. Another former worker, Elizabeth Taylor, also filed suit. Taylor was fired by David the same day in 2015 that she reported his harassment to the company. A judge divided the cases, and Taylor’s case, which also includes wrongful termination, is scheduled to go to trial in July.
Walk On Her Hands Like a Wheelbarrow
Jones and Taylor alleged various incidents of sexual harassment and battery against David. For Jones, it includes David’s reaching up her dress, grabbing her buttocks, making her dance and grasping her ankles and attempting to make her walk on her hands like a wheelbarrow. She said he forced her to watch a pornographic video on a computer.
Jones said David fired her in 2016 because she refused to have sex with him. When David brought a male stripper into the workplace to celebrate an executive’s birthday, Jones found the incident offensive and thought of it as sexual harassment. Taylor’s allegations against David are similar. According to her attorney, David’s behavior has caused Jones, a single mother, to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder.
Do you think were harassed at work or by a co-worker? Visit our workplace harassment FAQ page for more information. Ready to see if you have a case? Contact us online or by phone at 877.858.8018. All inquiries are protected by the attorney-client privilege and kept CONFIDENTIAL. (There is never a fee for a consultation.)