New York’s attorney general filed a suit Sunday against longtime Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, his brother Robert Weinstein and the Weinstein Company for “egregious violations” of the state’s civil rights, human rights and business laws.
In the court papers filed in Manhattan, Eric Schneiderman alleges executives from the company and its board consistently failed to protect employees from Harvey Weinstein, who was CEO at the time.
The suit, which is the result of a four-month investigation, includes “new and extensive allegations” about Harvey Weinstein’s “vicious and exploitative mistreatment of company employees.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, seen here in 2016, says the law suit was filed because of the imminent sale of the company, which could “leave victims without adequate redress.”(Mary Altaffer/The Associated Press)
Groups of women allegedly facilitated sexual activity
Numerous accounts of sexual harassment, intimidation, and other misconduct have been gathered.
You don’t know what I can do– threat allegedly made by Harvey Weinstein to employees, according to court documents
Among them are claims that Weinstein used threatening language such as “I will kill your family” and “you don’t know what I can do,” telling employees he had connections in high positions to take care of problems.
The suit also states that Weinstein had three separate groups of predominantly female employees: one to “facilitate” his “sexual conquests,” and another made up of assistants to maintain space on his calendar for “regular sexual activity.
A third group of women, mainly female executives, was required “to meet with prospective sexual conquests” and to follow through on Weinstein’s “promise of employment opportunities to women” who met with his favour.
“This compelled service demeaned and humiliated them, contributing to the hostile work environment,” the lawsuit says.
The statements have not been proven in court.
Harvey’s brother and Weinstein Company co-founder Robert Weinstein, at left, has also been named in the suit.((Mark Von Holden/Getty Images for Dimension Films) )
The ‘Bible,’ ‘personals’ and a ‘bonus’
The 38-page complaint, filed in New York’s Supreme Court, seeks to “remedy a years-long gender-based hostile work environment, a pattern of quid pro quo sexual harassment, and routine misuse of corporate resources for unlawful ends” between 2005 and October 2017.
The suit claims a document known to assistants as the “Bible” contained specific directions on how to arrange frequent sexual activity, known as “personals.” Expenses associated with the encounters were often coded as business-related if, for example, a woman had previously auditioned for a Weinstein project.
In addition, Weinstein’s drivers in Los Angeles and New York were allegedly “required to keep condoms and erectile dysfunction injections in the car at all times.” In addition, an employee was given a “bonus” for helping procure the drugs for him, which were often charged to the company.
Grievances to human resources were not investigated or treated confidentially, according to court documents, which also allege the company took steps to remove vocal employees or insist on non-disclosure agreements.
‘Hostile’ environment could continue under new name
The attorney general says the investigation is ongoing, however the suit was introduced now because of the imminent sale of the company, which could “leave victims without adequate redress, including a lack of a sufficient victims compensation fund.”
Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that employees are protected going forward, the attorney general said. A potential sale could allow top officials who were allegedly aware of the misconduct to continue occupying key positions under a newly formed entity.
Harvey Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women, including several high-profile actresses, of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The disgraced media mogul initially apologized for his behaviour but has denied accusations of rape.
The allegations, first reported by the New York Times in October of 2017, led to mass movements supporting women including #MeToo and Time’s Up.
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, told Deadline in a statement Sunday after the filing: “While Mr. Weinstein’s behaviour was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality.”
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