The Weinstein Company and its fired co-chairman, Harvey Weinstein, have been served two new California civil lawsuits in the past 24 hours. Each plaintiff is an actress listed as Jane Doe, but the second case is a class action suit that could amass many more accusers.
On November 14, TMZ first reported a lawsuit in which a woman claims Weinstein raped her at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel in 2016 after she was falsely told that she’d been cast in the now-cancelled Netflix series “Marco Polo,” which he executive produced. She said that the assault began with Weinstein performing unwanted oral sex on her, then penetrating her without a condom as she attempted to fight him off. At the same hotel in 2015, she was allegedly forced to watch the studio chief masturbate while he clutched her wrists with his free hand.
According to the Los Angeles Times, they met at a Chateau Marmont party in 2011, where Weinstein took her phone number, suggesting that he could improve her career prospects. Gloria Allred — the mother of Weinstein’s onetime former legal advisor, Lisa Bloom, and counsel to fellow Weinstein accuser Louisette Geiss — will be representing the unnamed actress in Los Angeles County Superior Court as she sues for sexual battery, gender violence, and being the victim of TWC’s negligence.
Weinstein’s representative responded with the following statement: “Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
The Wrap broke news of the class action suit, filed in California’s Central District Court on November 15. Through her attorney, Cris Armenta, this plaintiff asserts that Weinstein and his former company violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Per the filing, “Under the guise of meetings ostensibly to help further Class Members’ careers or hire them for roles, Weinstein isolated Plaintiff and the Class Members in an attempt to engage in unwanted sexual conduct that took many forms: flashing, groping, fondling, battering, sexually assault, attempted rape and/or completed rape.”
The lawsuit’s introduction begins with similar bluntness: “The proverbial ‘casting couch’ was Harvey Weinstein’s office of choice, a choice facilitated and condoned by TWC and Miramax.”
Weinstein and Mirmax have not yet publicly acknowledged the class action case, and TWC has not commented on either lawsuit. Previously, actress Dominique Huett filed an October 24 civil suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against TWC. She seeks $5 million in damages for negligence, alleging Weinstein requested to see her breasts, carried out oral sex on her without her consent, and masturbated as she watched. Huett claims the incident took place seven years ago in the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Police in Beverly Hills, New York City, and London are currently investigating Weinstein, a five-time Best Picture winner with several dozen accusers. In New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is also investigating TWC, which Weinstein is suing, hoping to access his personnel file and past email account. The company is now being led jointly by Bob Weinstein— Harvey Weinstein’s younger brother, with whom he co-founded Miramax and TWC — and COO David Glasser.
Weinstein’s alleged misconduct has already earned him expulsions from The Academy, the Television Academy, and the Producers Guild of America; The Directors Guild of America will likely follow suit. BAFTA has also suspended Weinstein.