10:31am PT by Austin Siegemund-Broka
Italian Actress Sues Claiming Stalking and Harassment Damaged Her Career
An Italian actress has filed suit against an American businessman she alleges harassed and defamed her when she rejected his romantic advances.
In her complaint filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Carlotta Montanari claims to have met Bruce Barren shortly after she moved to Los Angeles in 2010. She’d had some success as a TV personality in Italy, and she wanted to further her career in America. She and Barren — the chairman of a banking company — met at a social event and became friends.
She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years later, her filing states. She planned to return to Italy to spend time with her family, but her lease was ending about a week before she was scheduled to leave, and she needed a place to stay. She says Barren let her stay in his Brentwood condominium for the week and even paid her for help with business administrative work.
When she returned from Italy in July 2014 Barren allegedly let her stay in his condo again. It was then that the relationship went bad, she claims.
Her complaint states that she "came to learn, through Defendant Barren’s actions, that Defendant Barren had a romantic and sexual interest in Ms. Montanari. She also learned that Defendant Barren’s willingness to allow her to reside in his condominium free of rent was coupled with a quid-pro-quo expectation that Ms. Montanari would reciprocate Defendant Barren’s romantic/sexual interest in a physical manner."
She immediately moved out, she says. Spurned, Barren allegedly retaliated with “a monthslong pattern of systemic harassing, threatening, abusive and harmful behavior."
The complaint is a litany of alleged abuses. The actress claims Barren left her threatening voicemails and sent threatening emails to her mother in Italy and her talent agency in Los Angeles. He paid for an advertisement in L.A. Express that advertised her as a prostitute and listed her contact information, she claims, and posted anonymously on the website RipoffReport.com that she was a paid escort.
The alleged harassment didn’t stop when she secured two restraining orders against him, her complaint continues. A few days after a court granted a temporary restraining order in August, he allegedly launched a website that "featured pictures of Ms. Montanari, interposed with pictures of naked female genitalia that did not belong to Ms. Montanari" and that advertised her as a prostitute. He didn't remove the website following a civil harassment restraining order in September, the complaint states.
She's suing for civil harassment, libel and slander, infliction of emotional distress, stalking and negligence. The alleged harassment has "caused considerable harm to Ms. Montanari's acting career," she says. "Her relationship with her talent agent has been irreparably harmed. Additionally, the frequency of auditions and acting opportunities has diminished significantly." The harassment has even worsened her multiple sclerosis, she claims.
Barren tells The Hollywood Reporter, "the only comment I’ll provide is the lawsuit is frivolous and a countersuit will be filed." He adds that the allegations are "all bullshit."
The complaint was filed by Kabateck Brown Kellner’s Brian Kabateck. It names Barren and his banking company, the EMCO/Hanover Group, as defendants.