New York Sues Weinstein And Co. Over ‘Pervasive’ Attacks On Women

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

The state of New York sued disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and his company following more than a hundred reports of sexual misconduct and several former assistants claiming that Weinstein expected them to facilitate his sexual escapades.

State prosecutors claimed the Sunday lawsuit was aimed at stopping the impending sale of The Weinstein Company out of fear that alleged victims would lose their chance at being compensated, NBC News reported. The suit claims Weinstein sexually harassed and discriminated against women and other executives at the company allowed it to happen. Weinstein is currently under investigation by both U.S. and U.K. police for more than 100 reports of sexual misconduct.

“While Mr. Weinstein’s behavior was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality, and at the end of the inquiry it will be clear that Harvey Weinstein promoted more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader,” Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman said in a statement. “If the purpose of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr Weinstein will embrace the investigation. If the purpose however is to scapegoat Mr. Weinstein, he will vigorously defend himself.”

“The complaint alleges that Weinstein threatened to kill his employees and expected them to facilitate his sexual escapades with actresses. Weinstein reportedly had a manual to teach employees how to do so, known colloquially as the “Bible.” New York demands unspecified damages from Weinstein Co. in addition to $500-$500,000 for each human rights violation.

The company’s board of directors issued a response to the Wall St. Journal, claiming the lawsuit is unnecessary.

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“We are disappointed that the New York Attorney General felt it necessary to file today’s complaint,” the board said in a statement. “Many of the allegations relating to the Board are inaccurate and the Board looks forward to bringing the facts to light as part of its ongoing commitment to resolve this difficult situation in the most appropriate way.”

The lawsuit represents the culmination of a four-month investigation by NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Police have been unable to uncover actionable charges, however, as the statute of limitations has expired for the alleged crimes.

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