Six women filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Harvey Weinstein and current and former executives at both The Weinstein Company and Miramax accusing the disgraced movie producer of sexual misconduct, and a coverup by his associates.
Filed in New York’s U.S. District Court, the suit says the women encountered “credible and objective threat of being blacklisted by Weinstein and major film producers such as Miramax and TWC if they refused Weinstein’s unwanted sexual advances or complained about his behavior.”
The civil suit says the women were subjected to “flashing, groping, fondling, harassing, battering, false imprisonment, sexual assault, attempted rape and/or completed rape.”
“The proverbial ‘casting couch’ was Harvey Weinstein’s office of choice, a choice facilitated and condoned by TWC and Miramax,” the suit reads.
The women — Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller, and Nannette Klatt — who want a class action certification, accused Weinstein, his associates, “complicit producers,” attorneys, reporters, and other operatives of constructing what the suit calls “The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” which helped “facilitate and conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct.”
“Each participant in the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise had a systematic linkage to each other participant through corporate ties, contractual relationships, financial ties, and the continuing coordination of their activities,” the lawsuit says, claiming that the so-called enterprise violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
In a statement, the six women said: “Harvey Weinstein is a predator. Bob knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it.”
Among the defendants named in the civil suit include New York Knicks owner James Dolan and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry.
The suit comes a day after the New York Times published a 7,800-word exposé detailing how Hillary Clinton, Bob Weinstein, the Walt Disney Company, and elite talent agency CAA were all complicit in facilitating or enabling Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse over a period of several decades.
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers Blair Berk and Ben Brafman professed their client’s innocence of criminal conduct in a statement responding to the Times report.
“Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct,” Berk and Brafman said. “There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred. Nonetheless, to those offended by Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, he remains deeply apologetic.”
Meanwhile, Sandeep Rehal, who worked as Harvey Weinstein’s personal assistant for two years, is set to file a sexual harassment lawsuit of her own against the embattled producer.
“No one should have to endure what Ms. Rehal experienced at the hands of Harvey Weinstein,” said Rehal’s attorney Genie Harrison on Wednesday, announcing the forthcoming legal action. “We look forward to holding Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company, and all other responsible parties, accountable for the trauma and harm inflicted on Ms. Rehal,” Harrison said.