On Sunday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a civil rights lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, and the Weinstein Company. This not only blocked the impending sale of the company (which is desperately trying to avoid bankruptcy) but also alleged the violation of laws against sexual harassment, coercion, and gender discrimination against female employees. Schneiderman has posted a copy of the lawsuit filing on the NY AG website, and the 39-page document yields a dizzying combo of previously-known and fresh accusations, including threats upon the lives of employees.
The NY AG claims that Weinstein habitually threatened to kill employees and their families (Salma Hayek has previously alleged that he threatened to kill her as well). The lawsuit also accuses Weinstein of boasting about Secret Service connections to “take care of problems.” Here’s the relevant page 12 passage:
HW told several employees throughout the relevant time period that, in substance, “I will kill you,” “I will kill your family,” and “You don’t know what I can do,” or words to that effect. HW touted his connection to powerful political figures and asserted that he had contacts within the Secret Service that could take care of problems. Female employees knew from observations of HW and from the experiences of other TWC employees that he was capable of fits of rage, including infliction of physical injury, and that he was sexually aggressive. They became fearful that they could suffer physical injury or worse if they did not satisfy his demands.
Various reports have already alleged that Weinstein forced staffers to procure penile injections for him and clean up the mess after his sexual encounters, and those claims are repeated in even greater detail by the lawsuit. On page 13, the suit alleges that employees even had to “administer the injections.” The filing further discusses “humiliating and demeaning roles” that female employees were used for, including a “roster” of “wing women” (also on page 13) who were directed to help Weinstein target prospective sexual conquests. The lawsuit then accuses the Weinstein Company of failing to properly investigate these “repeated credible” claims and, thus, allowing the conduct to continue.
As already reported, the pending Weinstein Company sale (to Contreras-Sweet, an investor group) would have set up a $50 million fund for Weinstein’s accusers, but the buyer opposed future oversight by the NY AG. Schneiderman seeks to ensure that the company’s employees are also protected and that the Weinstein brothers won’t profit from the sale.
This lawsuit may go nowhere fast in New York’s State Supreme Court, but given that Harvey and the Weinstein Company are already facing racketeering and sex trafficking suits in other venues, it’s safe to say that this saga — decades in the making — will continue for months and years to come.