6 Women File Lawsuit Alleging ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise’

By Associated Press

NEW YORK—Six women sued Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday, targeting companies he worked at by likening the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” to an organized crime group that relied on film agents, producers and others to lure young women seeking a break in a breakneck industry.

The racketeering lawsuit in federal court in New York sought to represent “dozens, if not hundreds” of women who say they were assaulted by Weinstein after being isolated in close quarters such as a hotel room after bystanders were sent away.

The lawsuit seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages followed the filing of a similar lawsuit in Los Angeles last month that did not identify plaintiffs by name.

It said the “proverbial ‘casting couch’ was Harvey Weinstein’s office of choice” in an arrangement condoned by defendants Miramax LLC, The Weinstein Co. Holdings LLC and its board of directors. It said the companies were complicit in Weinstein’s flashing, groping, fondling, harassing, battering, false imprisonment, sexual assault, attempted rape or rape of women.

The women, the lawsuit said, “were aware of Weinstein’s ability to make or break their careers, as well as to continue to inflict emotional distress. Moreover, Weinstein wielded and was outspoken about his power and ability to either launch their careers or ruin their personal and professional reputations forever.”

“The power Weinstein wielded—and his ability to blacklist an actress or model for complaining about his predatory behavior—was so legendary that it was the rule in the entertainment industry that women needed to acquiesce to Weinstein to succeed,” the lawsuit said, noting that male producers and actors joked about the rule and its effect on women.

Harvey Weinstein attends the DeGrisogono 'Love On The Rocks' during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2017 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
Harvey Weinstein attends the DeGrisogono ‘Love On The Rocks’ during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 23, 2017 in Cap d’Antibes, France. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

A Weinstein lawyer declined comment Thursday, but Weinstein’s representatives forwarded a statement saying 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.”

The statement added: “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.”

Miramax, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and The Weinstein Co. Holdings, based in New York, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Weinstein was ousted from the movie company he founded following a barrage of sexual harassment allegations that began with a bombshell New York Times article in early October.

At least 75 women have come forward in the media to detail accounts of assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct by Weinstein. Weinstein’s representatives have denied all accusations of non-consensual sex, but no charges have been filed.

Weinstein, 65, is being investigated by police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, New York and London.

The lawsuit claimed that a coalition of companies and people since at least the 1990s became part of the growing “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” and that they worked with Weinstein to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults.

According to the lawsuit, actresses and other women in the film industry were lured to industry events, hotel rooms, Weinstein’s home, office meetings or auditions under the pretext that they were to discuss a project.

If women did not meet his demands, Weinstein and his associates used nondisclosure agreements, payoffs and legal threats to suppress their voices, the lawsuit said.

Plaintiffs included the scriptwriter and actress Louisette Geiss and the actresses Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas, Melissa Sagemiller and Nanette Klatt.

Attorney Gloria Allred and her client Louisette Geiss speak during a press conference about her clients allegations of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein at Allreds office in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 10, 2017. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
Actor Naveen Andrews poses with Katherine Kendall at the after party for “The Notorious Bettie Page” hosted by Picturehouse and Interview magazine at club Bed in New York City on April 10, 2006. (Mat Szwajkos/Getty Images.)
Actress Melissa Sagemiller arrives at the Monique Lhuillier Salon opening held at the Monique Lhuillier Boutique in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 10, 2007. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Monique Lhuillier)

The Associated Press generally doesn’t name alleged victims of sexual assault without their permission. All of the women have told their stories publicly.

 
 
 
 
 

Trump: McCain Returning Home to Arizona, Will Likely Miss Tax Vote

Trump: McCain Returning Home to Arizona, Will Likely Miss Tax Vote
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. John McCain is returning home to Arizona after being hospitalized for the side effects ...
READ MORE >
 

Lead Singer of K-Pop Boy Band Shinee Is Found Dead

Lead Singer of K-Pop Boy Band Shinee Is Found Dead
The lead singer of South Korea's top boy band SHINee died on Monday aged 27, after being taken ...
READ MORE >
 

Putin Thanks Trump for CIA Tip-Off to Russia to Prevent Church Terrorist Attack

Putin Thanks Trump for CIA Tip-Off to Russia to Prevent Church Terrorist Attack
Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Donald Trump on Sunday to thank him for information that allowed Russia ...
READ MORE >
 

US Soldier Ambushed in Niger wasn’t Captured

US Soldier Ambushed in Niger wasn’t Captured
WASHINGTON—An American soldier killed in an ambush in Niger with three comrades but recovered days later wasn't captured ...
READ MORE >
 

This epic dad will dance with his daughter when mom isn’t home

This epic dad will dance with his daughter when mom isn’t home
When Rujeana, mother of two small children wasn't home her husband had to take care of the children. Normally hilarious ...
READ MORE >