A class-action lawsuit was filed on Wednesday against Harvey Weinstein, Miramax, The Weinstein Company and members of its board of directors, claiming that these entities worked to “perpetuate and conceal Weinstein’s widespread sexual harassment and assault,” a cover-up that amounts to civil racketeering.
In a joint statement, the six plaintiffs said, “We are but six women representing hundreds” who have been harassed or assaulted by Mr. Weinstein.
The entertainment mogul was fired after an avalanche of accusations since October, when The New York Times reported that Mr. Weinstein had paid off sexual harassment accusers for decades.
“Harvey Weinstein is a predator,” the joint statement says. “Bob knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it.” Bob Weinstein, Harvey’s brother, is the head of The Weinstein Company, which they founded together in 2005.
The statement goes on: “How could so many women have been violated? How could so many people have covered up for him? How could so many people have done nothing to help? Money.”
The statement requests that Mr. Weinstein and his legal team submit a “full mea culpa and admission of the wrongs perpetrated by both him and his enablers.”
The plaintiffs were identified as Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller and Nannette Klatt. [Read their statement and the court filing here.]
Two of the defendants named in the suit are James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks, and Marc Lasry, a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. Both men are former members of the Weinstein Company’s board of directors — Mr. Dolan from mid-2015 to June 2016, and Mr. Lasry from mid-2016 to October 2017, according to the suit.
A spokeswoman for Harvey Weinstein did not immediately respond to a request for comment in Wednesday. His company fired him in October.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by Hagens Berman and The Armenta Law Firm. It states that actresses and other women in the film industry were lured to industry events, hotel rooms, Mr. Weinstein’s home, office meetings or auditions to discuss projects, only to be victimized by Mr. Weinstein.
“The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise had many participants, grew over time as the obfuscation of Weinstein’s conduct became more difficult to conceal,” the suit says.
“The producer Harvey Weinstein relied on powerful relationships across industries to provide him with cover as accusations of sexual misconduct piled up for decades,” the law firm said in a statement.