Six women filed a proposed class-action lawsuit on Wednesday in New York against Harvey Weinstein and his former companies, following dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct against the disgraced Hollywood film producer.
The lawsuit, initially filed in Los Angeles, claims "the system that exposed them to harassment" by Weinstein "was akin to organized crime," Variety reported.
A New York Times exposé in October set off a firestorm of allegations, including rape, sexual assault, and harassment against Weinstein that reached far beyond the boundaries of New York and Hollywood.
Who is implicated in the lawsuit with Weinstein?
Also implicated in the lawsuit against the former Hollywood film producer are his brother Bob Weinstein, billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, and other former and current board members of The Weinstein Company and Miramax.
According to the suit, “Weinstein’s widespread sexual misconduct did not occur without the help of others,” Variety reported. “Rather, over time, Weinstein enlisted the aid of other firms and individuals to facilitate and conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct. This coalition of firms and individuals became part of the growing ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise,’ a RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations] enterprise.”
The suit alleges that the company's board members did nothing to stop Weinstein's "predatory behavior," according to the New York Post.
And court documents state that Weinstein agreed to pay The Weinstein Company for damages for instances of sexual abuse or misconduct.
"You [Weinstein] will pay the company liquidated damages of $250,000 for the first such instance, $500,000 for the second such instance, $750,000 for the third such instance, and $1,000,000 for each additional instance,“ Weinstein's 2015 company contract stated, the Post reported.
"Weinstein and TWC further agreed that Weinstein’s payment constitutes a ‘cure’ for the misconduct and no further action can be taken," the papers state.
The suit claims that employment contract provisions such as these show that Weinstein "was more likely than not to engage in sexual harassment and other misconduct affecting the Class and female employees. TWC and Miramax are liable for Weinstein’s conduct, because it was perpetuated within the scope of his employment.”
Who are the plaintiffs?
The plaintiffs are Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller, and Nannette Klatt, Variety reported.
Hagens Berman and Armenta Law Firm, the firm handling the suit, told Variety in a statement that it aims to expand the case as a class-action proceeding with potentially “hundreds” of other Weinstein victims.
What do the plaintiffs say?
“Harvey Weinstein is a predator. Bob (Weinstein) knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it. Hollywood knew it. We knew it. Now the world knows it,” the plaintiffs said in a joint statement.
How many counts are in the suit?
According to Variety, 14 accounts are alleged in the suit, including witness tampering, mail and wire fraud, assault, civil battery, negligent supervision and retention and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial.
Weinstein denies all accusations against him.