Harvey Weinstein has been hit with a class action lawsuit over the sexual harassment and assault allegations he is facing.
The suit was filed in federal court on Wednesday (15Nov17) on behalf of a woman identified as Jane Doe, but it will expand to include several others, who have accused the disgraced Hollywood mogul of sexual misconduct.
According to TheWrap.com, Weinstein and bosses at his former companies Miramax and The Weinstein Company are being sued for assault, infliction of emotional distress, and violation of a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute.
In the lawsuit, Weinstein is accused of using his power as a Hollywood executive to lure women to private meetings and allegedly assault them. The lawyers behind the suit also claim Miramax and The Weinstein Company executives knew about Harvey’s alleged sexual misconduct.
“Plaintiff, and hundreds of other female actors like her, found themselves with Weinstein… at offices, in hotel rooms, or at rooms at industry functions,” the legal papers read. “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 proverbial ‘casting couch’ was Harvey Weinstein’s office of choice, a choice facilitated and condoned by TWC and Miramax.”
Attorney Cris Armenta, who launched the lawsuit, is seeking a jury trial and financial damages for Weinstein’s alleged victims.
Jane Doe doesn’t detail when her alleged assault occurred in the lawsuit, but she claims she attended an audition at a Miramax location and was taken to one of Weinstein’s private offices, where he allegedly asked her to show him her breasts for the part she was auditioning for. When she refused, he allegedly became angry and locked her in a dark stairwell.
Representatives for Weinstein, The Weinstein Company, and Miramax have not commented on the lawsuit, but Harvey has previously denied many allegations against him.
The lawsuit comes a day after Weinstein was sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court for allegedly sexually assaulting another unnamed actress in 2015 and 2016. The actress is suing company executives for negligence, claiming they knew about his alleged behavior. She has not filed a report with the police.
Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company in early October after an expose was published, detailing his decades of alleged bad behavior, by The New York Times. He is suing company bosses to access paperwork including emails and his employment file.
Meanwhile, police in New York, Los Angeles and London have launched investigations into some of the allegations against the producer.