Bill Murray is typically known for calm, jokey, light-hearted, laidback behavior, but that wasn't a side of the actor seen by Martha's Vineyard this week. As it is being reported today, the comedic Groundhog Day actor was reportedly involved in a serious altercation with Peter Simon, a 71-year-old photographer whom Murray mistook for paparazzi. Simon apparently caught Murray in a foul mood, because the normally good-natured comedian and well-respected, award-nominated performer got aggressive with the man behind the camera, threatening Simon and later dousing him and his camera with a glass of water. As you'd expect, Simon wasn't happy about it, and he's hoping the celebrity will go out of his way to apologize for the situation.
Here's what we know about the alleged altercation. As it was reported by Showbiz 411, Peter Simon was sent to a restaurant in the town of Oak Bluffs called Lola's to take low-key photos of the spot. To be more specific, he was seeking to take photos of "interesting people." Simon is known for his photos of landscapes, sunsets, and other pleasant images. He is most certainly not a paparazzi guy. But, Bill Murray, apparently, didn't get that memo. Simon was taking a few pictures of a couple sitting at a table, unaware of who they and their male friend were and not trying to upset their evening. It was shortly after he started taking photos, however, that the couple noticed his presence, and their friend wasn't amused by Simon. That's around the time things got ugly.
As it was recounted by Peter Simon, the friend, who turned out to be Bill Murray, "shoved" the photographer when the actor caught up with him in the alley, where he was looking at his photos. Simon asked Murray if he knew who he was. Murray said no and then reportedly asked Simon, "Do you know who I am?" When Simon claimed he didn't, Murray retorted, "Well, you should." That's the moment when Bill Murray poured a glass of water on Peter Simon and his camera.
Peter Simon considers himself to be a "peace and love person," and he was clearly frazzled by this incident. He went on to describe the alleged altercation as "humiliating." Furthermore, Simon claims he didn't even have any photos of Bill Murray at the time because he wasn't shooting him in the restaurant. Nevertheless, while Simon wasn't looking to pick a fight with Bill Murray, Murray was clearly peeved about the whole thing, and he complained to management about the incident. The restaurant's owners banned Simon for one year based on Murray's insistence. While Simon claims they knew what he was doing in their establishment, and that they knew he wasn't up to any misdeeds, Simon believes they favored the celebrity over him.
While the restaurant owners likely sided with Bill Murray because they didn't want bad worth of mouth spreading about their business, Peter Simon is clearly putting up a fight about the whole nasty affair. Simon doesn't appear to be pressing charges, noting that he doesn't "want a fight or anything." That said, it does seem like he wants an apology, at the very least, for the misunderstanding. And, it should be noted that Simon is no stranger to celebrities. He has not only taken pictures of more than a few, but he also grew up with some famous people, too. His sister is singer Carly Simon and his father is Richard Simon, the co-founder of Simon & Schuster. Suffice to say, Simon wasn't at all enchanted with this encounter with Bill Murray.
Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.
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