Six women sue Harvey Weinstein and top Weinstein Company executives - including Knicks owner James Dolan - claiming they engaged in RACKETEERING by covering up sex assault allegations
- The new class-action lawsuit was filed Wednesday in New York federal court
- Six women are accusing Harvey Weinstein and his companies of acting like an organized crime outlet by allowing his behavior and covering it up for years
- The women listed in the lawsuit include screenwriter Louisette Geiss and actresses Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas (aka Sarah Ann Masse), Melissa Sagemiller and Nanette Klatt?
- Weinstein was fired from his company in October after a wave of allegations of sexual misconduct?
- The Weinstein Co. has claimed they were ignorant to his behavior ?
- Among the Weinstein Co executives named in the lawsuit is Weinstein's brother Bob and Knicks owner James Dolan, a former director of the company?
Six women have filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, seeking to represent a class of 'dozens, if not hundreds' of women who say they were assaulted by the movie mogul.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday at a federal court in New York. It claims that his actions to cover up the assaults amounted to civil racketeering. Racketeering is a crime most commonly used in criminal cases involving crime organizations like the mafia.
The lawsuit claims that a coalition of companies and people became part of the growing 'Weinstein Sexual Enterprise' and that they worked with Weinstein to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults.?
Among those listed as a defendants in the lawsuit are Weinstein's brother Bob and Knicks owner James Dolan, a former director of the Weinstein Co.?Dolan himself was named in another sexual harassment lawsuit in 2006, which claimed his Knicks general manager sexually harassed team executive Anucha Brown Sanders. The lawsuit was settled for an unspecified amount in 2007.
The women are being represented by the law firms of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and the Armenta Law Firm.?
Harvey Weinstein was hit with a new lawsuit on Wednesday, claiming he and his businesses covered up accusations of sexual harassment and assault for years
Also named in the lawsuit is Weinstein's brother Bob (left) and former Weinstein Co director James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks basketball team (right)?
'The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise had many participants, grew over time as the obfuscation of Weinstein's conduct became more difficult to conceal,' the suit said.
Plaintiffs included the scriptwriter Louisette Geiss and the actresses Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas (aka Sarah Ann Masse), Melissa Sagemiller and Nanette Klatt. However, it is open to anyone else who was a Weinstein victim to join.
All six women said Weinstein came onto them in various states of undress during business meetings, auditions or interviews.?
The Associated Press generally doesn't name alleged victims of sexual assault without their permission. All of the women have told their stories publicly.?
Actresses Zoe Brock (left) and Katherine Kendall are two the accusers in the new lawsuit.?Brock says Weinstein tried to initiate sex with her when she was left alone with him in his hotel room at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998. She locked herself in a bathroom and started screaming when she feared she would be raped. Kendall claims Weinstein chased her naked around his apartment in 1993, when she was 23, after she auditioned for a role.
Screenwriter Geiss (left) says that Weinstein masturbated in front of her during a business meeting at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.?Melissa Sagemiller says Weinstein demanded that she kiss him during a hotel room meeting in 2000.
Sarah Ann Thomas (aka Sarah Ann Masse) said that Weinstein came onto her during a 2008 interview at his Connecticut home. She was interviewing to be his babysitter
'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,' they said in a joint statement.?
'We have watched in horror, amazement, pride and gratitude in the last two months as women (and men) the world over have come forward and named their abusers. We stand with all those brave people who have had the courage and temerity to shine a spotlight into the darkness. Predators thrive in the shadows. It is only by keeping their secrets for them that we allow them to get away with it.'??
A lawyer for Weinstein declined comment.
According to the lawsuit, actresses and other women in the film industry were lured to industry events, hotel rooms, Weinstein's home, office meetings or auditions under the pretense that they were to discuss a project.
At least 75 women have come forward in the media to detail accounts of assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct by Weinstein.?
Weinstein, 65, is being investigated by police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, New York and London
Weinstein was ousted from the movie company he founded following a barrage of sexual harassment allegations that began with a bombshell New York Times article in early October. Since then, numerous prominent men in entertainment, business and politics and the media have been hit with allegations of improper behavior with women.
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