On Wednesday six women filed a class action lawsuit against the Weinstein Company, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, and several other former Weinstein company board members for a pattern of racketeering, civil battery, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The women—all of whom say in the lawsuit that they were assaulted by Weinstein in the process of auditioning for him, pitching him projects, or working on Miramax or Weinstein Company projects—are bringing forth the lawsuit individually and “on behalf of all others similarly situated.” The lawsuit states that “there are dozens, and likely hundreds, of proposed Class members.” Most of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit have already come forward with their stories, including actress Katherine Kendall, who says she was chased around a hotel room by Weinstein, and actress Louisette Weiss, who says she was asked to watch the producer masturbate.
According to the lawsuit, these women say that Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct could not occur without the help of several individuals and firms that they dub “the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise.” It was Weinstein and this enterprise, according to the lawsuit, that harassed, threatened, extorted, and misled “both Weinstein’s victims and the media to prevent, hinder and avoid the prosecution, reporting, or disclosure of his sexual misconduct.”
Those named as part of this enterprise include former and current members of the Weinstein Company board and directors such as Dirk Ziff, Tim Sarnoff, Marc Lasry, Tarak Ben Ammar, Lance Maerov, Richard Koenigsberg, Paul Tudor Jones, Jeff Sackman, and James Dolan. And although several of these men quickly resigned after the Weinstein investigation first broke, according to the lawsuit these men were well aware of his predatory behavior.
The lawsuit, which cites the many investigations already published on Weinstein by publications like The New York Times and The New Yorker, also names involved law firms, Miramax and TWC producers, casting directors, and agents who aided and protected Weinstein’s behavior. The lawsuit also names National Enquirer publisher Dylan Howard who, as reported by The New Yorker, supplied Weinstein with information about Rose McGowan to help disprove her rape allegation, as well as the Israeli intelligence agency Black Cube that Weinstein used.
What this lawsuit does is legally recognize what’s been reported in the news about Weinstein’s behavior: that he did not act alone and was protected by a wide system of people throughout the Weinstein Company and Miramax. “Had members of the Weinstein Sexual Enterprise not been complicit and had they revealed instead of concealed Weinstein’s predatory behavior, Plaintiffs and members of the Class would not have been injured,” reads the lawsuit.