Bill Murray involved in altercation with Peter Simon at Lola’s

Actor allegedly shoved and poured water on Times freelance photographer.

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Actor Bill Murray is often spotted at Sharks games - File photo courtesy Lily Cowper

A freelance photographer for the Martha’s Vineyard Times says he was shoved against a wall and doused with water by actor Bill Murray at Lola’s Restaurant Wednesday evening while on assignment for The Times.

Simon was at Lola’s to shoot the Marotta Brothers band for his Vineyard Scene photo feature, and says not only didn’t he take any pictures of Murray, but he didn’t even recognize the actor and comedian. After the altercation, Simon called Oak Bluffs Police. “Murray grabbed him and poured a drink on his shirt,” Simon told police, according to an Oak Bluffs Police report. Officers declined to seek charges against Murray. Instead, Simon was advised he could take out a criminal complaint in Edgartown District Court, which he is considering. Unless police witness an assault — a shove, water thrown, or something else — they will not arrest, Oak Bluffs Police Lt. Tim Williamson told The Times. On-Island, charges can be filed in Edgartown District Court for past assaults, he said.

Simon said he’s not going to pursue a criminal charge against Murray.

“Murray was visibly upset,” according to the report. He told police Simon had harassed him and photographed him, the report states.

Lola’s owner Katherine Domitrovich told police Simon “had no business photographing anyone in the restaurant, and was generally annoying,” the report states. She was advised to take out a no-trespass order against Simon.

Domitrovich told The Times that Simon was pointing his camera at Murray, and said she thought his purpose for being in the restaurant was to capture images of the actor. Concerning the water dumped on Simon, she said, “Well deserved, well deserved.”

Simon told The Times he thought he had permission to be there because of the invitation of the band.

Jamie Kageleiry, Times associate publisher, said Simon was there to cover Jerry and Rick Marotta and the people who were enjoying their music. “We pride ourselves on giving celebrities their space on-Island,” she said, and stressed that Simon was not assigned to photograph Murray.

Entertainment personalities, authors, and sports figures generally enjoy a paparazzi-free atmosphere on the Vineyard, where the press and the inhabitants treat them indifferently at grocery stores, on the beach, or elsewhere.

Kageleiry described Simon as professional and mild-mannered.

The story was widely published across the country once the Associated Press picked it up. It made radio and television newscasts, as well, and was written about for days on social media.

There were two separate instances when Murray approached Simon at the restaurant, according to the police report.

Simon told The Times he had retreated to an alcove area after taking photos to review his shots. He alleged that Murray came into the area, grabbed him by the shoulders and pushed him against the wall. Murray said to him, “I should [expletive] throw you out of here,” and then threatened “bodily harm.”

The two exchanged words, asking each other, “Do you know who I am?” Simon said.

Simon said he did not recognize Murray. “He looks so different than he used to look,” he said.

Simon said he told Murray he did not attempt to take pictures of him, apologized, and offered a peace sign. “I did all my best to de-escalate it,” he said.

According to the police report, Domitrovich thought Simon was present specifically to photograph Murray.

“She believed that Simon found out that Murray was at Lola’s, and he came to specifically take his picture,” the report states.

Some 15 to 30 minutes after the first altercation, Simon said Murray allegedly elbowed him as he sat on a bar chair and then poured water on both him and his camera.

“I’ve never been treated like that in my life,” he said.

Murray has a home in Chilmark, and Simon lives there year-round. Simon, who is 71, has a photography gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. He is particularly known for his work as a rock-and-roll photographer. Murray, who is 67, was one of the original cast members of “Saturday Night Live.” He is known for such films as “Caddyshack,” “Groundhog Day,” and “Ghostbusters.”

Calls to Murray were not immediately returned.

32 COMMENTS

  1. The way I read it is: “Peter Simon retreated to his safe space in an alcove to review pictures and the hippie war protestor of the 60’s threw a peace sign at Murray to de-escalte a situation he created”.

    Grow up Peter, this is not the first time you’ve irratated people and abused your position of a freelance photographer.

    • bb what’s with the comment about “hippie war protester” ?
      If he was protesting the war , well good for him.
      You hold it against him because he protested ( and helped end) an unjust ,unwinnable war.
      How many more young Americans would have died without the protesters putting pressure on the government to end it ? how many innocent Vietnamese citizens ?
      You tell Peter to “grow up” —
      I say — get over it–

      • hippe war protestor is like saying she wore polyester. it’s a phrase, a descriptive phrase that connotes an image, the look of peter today looks like that of a hippie war protestor. dondondon12 you get over it.

        • bb– you judge people by the way they look ?
          do you just THINK Peter protested the war, and somehow use that to defame him ? or are you just bigoted towards people who don’t conform to the appearance you deem acceptable ? Your comment does not say he “looks like ” a hippie war protestor — you used the phrase ” the hippie war protestor of the 60’s “— it’s not a “phrase” — it’s an assertion of fact by you , and an attempt at discrediting him–
          I think the “hippie war protestor” (s) were brave and dedicated people. I served in the military during the Vietnam war era –although I was lucky enough to have never set foot there– Who are you to make an attempt at degrading someone who protested such an abomination ? You know what white supremacist called the Caucasian “freedom riders” , right ? I am not going to get over it —

  2. Um, pretty sure that internationally-acclaimed music photographer on assignment to cover a band isn’t stalking “one bizarre incident after another” Bill Murray. He has a well-documented history of issues with photographers, even ones who don’t care about capturing him! He’s been accused of everything from spousal abuse to throwing a talented movie producer in a lake. Consistent bizarre behavior.

    • Wow Fred, I’d take your photo anyway. You obviously haven’t hit stardom to Bill Murray fame and couldn’t afford to do what Peter deserved, which is pour water on him when he’s in your face. The restraint here is lacking on all parts involved, Chalk it up to an August Vineyard night and hopefully the press can make something bigger out of this to attract more people to the island.

  3. I know Peter well, I have had quite a few run-ins with Peter Simon in the past. I am sure he was certainly there to photograph bill more than he was there to photograph the Marotta brothers. He makes money off his photos, he doesn’t care who he gets in the way of or what he has to do to get the shot. You usually have to get permission to photograph certain people or groups under artist management contracts. I know quite a bit about this. I have personally thrown him off the stage at the old Hot Tin Roof for climbing onstage in front of the band for a better shot. I believe Kathy and Bill that he was obnoxious.

  4. What we are seeing here is a star struck restaurant owner trying to protect a patron seriously afflicted with end-stage celebrity. Not a pretty sight. It would be charitable to just slide a curtain over the whole thing.

  5. I’ve seen Peter in action many times. Because he is Carly’s brother he uses that to intrude with his camera with self righteousness. Bill comes to the island to escape this type of intrusion and I’m sure overreacted.

  6. This is Peter being Peter. He has no ability to understand social norms. He carts his camera into private social settings where he has been invited as a guest but not as a photographer.
    I am amazed this has not happened to him before this. Bill Murry loves the attention but on his terms. I am afraid Peter will never understand normal social boundaries. The sad thing is that he has a gifted eye. I guess we have to take the good with the bad.

  7. Bill Murray’s egregious behavior is not limited to the Island or to professional photographers. In February 2016, Carmel California: “Actor Bill Murray Loses Cool, Throws Fans’ Cell Phones Off Restaurant Rooftop” October 2017, Chicago: “Bill Murray had an outburst at a VIP reception after his Chicago concert” (These people were at a $150 VIP event honoring Murray and dared to take snaps with their phones.) . Oct 8, 2008 Los Angeles Times “The wife of entertainer Bill Murray has filed for divorce after nearly 11 years of marriage, alleging he abused her and is addicted to marijuana and alcohol.” June 2, 2018 The Guardian, England: reporter Hadley Freeman reported greeting her, whereupon he “picked me up, and while giving me an enormous bear hug, swung me around the room. ‘This woman’s very ill’ he shouted. He then disappeared. She continues “my encounter had feel weird, unforgettable, unique, and surprisingly aggressive” Of course, Murray has his admirers, notably Harvey Weinstein, who said in 2014, “Being a Murray-ite is a religion, where you can behave as badly as you want to people, and they still love you. I used to feel guilty about behaving badly, and then I met Bill, and it feels so much better.” Wonder if Weinstein will be a character witness for Murray if it gets to court.

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