Feb. 12 (UPI) — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against disgraced Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein for civil rights violations due to multiple sexual misconduct allegations.
The lawsuit also names Harvey Weinstein’s brother, Robert Weinstein, as well as the Weinstein Company, the film production company they co-founded. The Weinstein Company was up for sale after allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced and caused problems for the company’s image. A deal was in the works, but could be complicated pending the lawsuit.
“Any sale of the Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched,” Schneiderman said in a news release.
According to the lawsuit, Harvey Weinstein “repeatedly and persistently sexually harassed female employees at TWC by personally creating a hostile work environment that pervaded the workplace and by demanding that women engage in sexual or demeaning conduct as a quid pro quo for continued employment or career advancement.”
Some of those actions, the lawsuit says, were criminal, and the company — headed by the Weinsteins — used its resources and employees to “facilitate the unlawful conduct.”
In addition, the lawsuit says Robert Weinstein and the company’s Board were “repeatedly presented with credible evidence” of Harvey Weinstein’s behavior toward female employees, as well as the use of company resources to engage in unlawful conduct. But they allegedly refused to take action.
The lawsuit also cites other examples of how Harvey Weinstein allegedly created a hostile work environment, including the use of gender and sexual slurs against female and gay employees; using his “stature” of more than 6 feet to “intimidate” employees; repeatedly screaming and berating employees in private and public settings; and even threatening to kill them and their families.
“You don’t know what I can do,” Harvey Weinstein told an employee, according to the lawsuit.
The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages, as well as $500 to $500,000 for each violation of civil law and New York City’s Human Rights code.
Harvey Weinstein responded to the lawsuit Sunday night via his attorney Ben Brafman who said a “fair investigation” by Schneiderman “will demonstrate that many of the allegations…are without merit,” according to Variety.
“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 and there was zero discrimination at either Miramax or TWC,” Brafman said, referring to Harvey Weinstein’s previous production company.