Actor Peter Dante has been sued by a man who alleges that Dante called him an “old Jew” and a sissy and chased him around a Santa Monica restaurant earlier this month. Plaintiff Scott Burns’ Santa Monica Superior Court lawsuit alleges assault, defamation-slander and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Burns seeks $1.5 million in damages in the suit brought Thursday.
A representative for the 53-year-old “Grandma’s Boy” actor could not be immediately reached for comment. On Jan. 3 at about 5:15 p.m., Burns went to Lares, a Mexican food restaurant on Pico Boulevard where he regularly dines, the suit states. Burns, who is elderly and has heart disease, entered through the back door due to management’s COVID-19 safety protocols and was directed to his table after his temperature was taken and he showed his vaccination card, the suit states.
Dante was “purposefully blocking” the area Burns needed to pass through and although the plaintiff excused himself, a visibly drunk Dante began “verbally assaulting” him, according to the suit. Dante then began asking Burns invasive and personal questions in a menacing tone, and called the plaintiff’s answers “stupid,” the suit states. “Plaintiff was humiliated in the small space in front of the staff whom he knows well and the other diners,” the suit states.
Dante, who allegedly ignored Burns’ requests to stop talking to him, called the plaintiff a “sissy” and asked if he was going to do anything about it, but Burns responded that he did not want to fight, according to the suit. Dante made antisemitic remarks about Burns’ appearance, saying he was an “old Jew” with a “Jew nose,” the suit alleges. Dante later approached Burns’ table and stood over the plaintiff in a threatening manner, leaving Burns feeling he was about to be attacked, the suit states. When Burns told a waiter he was leaving, Dante yelled, “See sissy running away,” according to the suit.
Dante chased Burns around a large table and the plaintiff was able to call the police, telling the operator to stay on the phone with him because he feared for his safety, the suit states. The restaurant owner’s daughter approached and kept Dante away from Burns, then told the actor, “Pay your bill and get out. You’re out of here,” the suit states. Dante eventually left. Burns, who felt humiliated and believes his reputation was damaged, has continued to have nightmares as well as a feeling of apprehension when he is in public places, especially while visiting Lares, according to the suit.