Actor with roles in ‘Guiding Light,’ ‘Hunger Games’ film accuses resort owner of sexual harassment
Jul 14, 2023, 9:47 AM
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An actor and model who had roles in the soap opera “Guiding Light” and movies including “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” says in a lawsuit that she was sexually harassed by the owner of a Rhode Island resort where she had been hired to work as a consultant.
Alison McDaniel’s lawsuit, filed this week in federal court in Rhode Island, seeks more than $3.3 million in damages and unpaid back wages.
McDaniel, 42, was subjected to “repeated sexual advances including attempts to kiss her on the mouth, requests for sexual favors, inappropriate touching, ogling with suggestive overtones, and verbal and physical harassment of a sexual nature” by Paul Mihailides, owner of The Preserve Sporting Club & Residences, in Richmond, she says in the lawsuit.
An attorney for Mihailides disputed the claims.
“Sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable at any level and The Preserve holds all who work there in any capacity to a high standard,” attorney Nicole Benjamin said in a statement. “It is important to keep in mind a lawsuit is not made of facts, but rather allegations that must be proven. In this case, the defendants are confident that a jury will ultimately reject the allegations made by Ms. McDaniel.”
McDaniel was paid for all the work she did, and a discrimination complaint she filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was dismissed and closed, Benjamin said.
Mihailides also told guests that McDaniel was his “mistress,” “future ex-wife,” and “girlfriend,” she says in the lawsuit.
When McDaniel refused Mihailides’ sexual advances, he retaliated against her by refusing to reimburse her for expenses, the suit says.
McDaniel was told by another Preserve employee that Mihailides insinuated to others that he and McDaniel were involved in a sexual relationship, and Mihailides often told McDaniel that he was having multiple extramarital affairs, which she found “unwelcome and offensive,” she says in the lawsuit.
McDaniel was paid $6,000 per month from December 2019 until February 2022 to act as a spokesperson for the resort, act in commercials, appear in videos for social media and advertising, appear at events, and create marketing campaigns, among other duties, she says in the lawsuit. On one occasion, she even helped wait tables.
The Preserve is located on 3,500 acres (1,400 hectares) and has luxury accommodations and dining, a spa, and offers sports including shooting, hunting, tennis, golf, and horse riding, according to its website.
According to her resume, McDaniel has a recurring role in the soap opera “Guiding Light” and has appeared in several other television shows and movies, including “J. Edgar Hoover” and a minor role in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” She has also been a model on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today” show, and has appeared in commercials.