Harvey Weinstein was once at the very top of Hollywood. As accusations of his sexual predation came to light, it didn’t just trigger his downfall. It ushered in a tidal wave of exposure of sexual impropriety in the film industry.
Harvey Weinstein can’t escape being a media or legal target.
On Sunday, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed suit against The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein and Robert Weinstein for egregious violations of New York’s civil rights, human rights and business laws.
Filed in New York County Supreme Court, the suit includes new and extensive accusations about longtime company CEO Harvey Weinstein’s mistreatment of employees. Employee accounts of sexual harassment, intimidation and other misconduct are part of the suit.
While the attorney general’s investigation continues, the suit has been filed because Schneiderman’s office is concerned that the sale of The Weinstein Company would leave victims without a way to get compensation for possible wrongdoing. And Schneiderman notes that a sale could mean a windfall for those responsible for any misconduct.
Among specific examples of wrongdoing cited by the attorney general:
• Harvey Weinstein told several employees words to the effect of “I will kill you,” “I will kill your family,” and “You don’t know what I can do.” He also asserted that he had contacts within the Secret Service who could take care of problems for him.
• The Weinstein Company, the suit says, “employed one group of female employees whose primary job it was to accompany (Harvey) to events and to facilitate (his) sexual conquests. … One of the members of this entourage was flown from London to New York to teach” his assistants “how to dress and smell more attractive” to him.
• Another group of employees were assigned to “further his regular sexual activity, including by contacting … prospective sexual partners via text message or phone at his direction and maintaining space on his calendar for sexual activity.”
• A third set of employees also were forced to facilitate his sexual conquests. These female employees were supposed to help his company produce films and television projects. But despite their skills and stated job responsibilities, he required them to meet with prospective sexual conquests for his own personal interests. “This compelled service demeaned and humiliated them, contributing to the hostile work environment.”
• Assistants had copies of a document called the “Bible,” which included information about his likes and dislikes, and a list of people to assist arranging “personals,” or sexual activity.
• His drivers in both New York and Los Angeles had to have available condoms and erectile dysfunction injections in the car at all times.
The suit says that the investigation shows that the head of human resources at Weinstein’s company was not empowered to do anything about his ongoing sexual harassment of female employees.
The New York attorney general says that Robert Weinstein, who was aware of his brother’s sexual misconduct, allowed Harvey to create a hostile work environment and engage in sexual misconduct, for which he was responsible for preventing.
USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for The Weinstein Company for comment.
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